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A STRING of domesticated value chains being pursued by the government could help Zimbabwe fight “vicious cycles of price increases”, while unlocking growth opportunities for local firms, Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza said yesterday.

The minister implored female-led companies to take charge as Zimbabwe fights a sea of headwinds.

The plan has been in place for several years, but it became a crucial part of Zimbabwe’s battle to stem economic decline ever since bloody confrontations exploded between Russia and Ukraine in February. This sparked shortages in a cluster of crucial commodities, including wheat and oil.

The southern African country was already battling to forestall multiple turbulences when the war broke out, including rocketing inflation, forex shortages and an exchange rate crisis.

And in the past few weeks, the crisis has deepened, with currency battering escalating as confidence wanes across markets, forcing authorities to implement a sea of ill-timed ad hoc policies.

Nzenza, whose speech was delivered to female executives at the start of the Women Executive Leadership Roundtable in Kariba yesterday said to wage the war on prices she plans to use wheat to bread, cement, buses and trucks, and the sugar value chains.

She said by domesticating these, impetus to rebuild fragile markets would gain traction.

“We are seized with entrenching local production in 10 main value chains, among them the wheat to bread, cement, bus and truck, sugar value chain among many others,” Nzenza said.

“We are also largely pushing to domesticate these value chains in order to do away with imported inflation, which is a key contributor to the vicious cycle of price increases. I would like to encourage your active participation as Women Business Entrepreneurs in these value chains as part of the inclusive approach championed by the government,” she said.

Maize and wheat prices have rocketed by the widest margins since global fragilities erupted, thereby abating frustrations that began in August last year when the International Monetary Fund injected US$650 billion into the global economy.

The money was used to rebuild countries hit by pandemic curbs, with negative spin-offs as some economies came under pressure from imported inflation.

Nzenza added that amid the turmoil, female-led firms still had an opportunity to ride out and shine.

“Play an increasingly prominent role in these value chains to help build stronger local companies and brands,” she said.

“It is important to leverage on the vast untapped potential represented by women-owned businesses to push through the recovery and growth of our economy. I urge women to widen their horizon and take advantage of the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy…it is centred on developing linkages across key sectors of the economy, namely agriculture, mining, manufacturing and services. Zimbabwe has also adopted a value chain approach, learning from international best practices as we endeavour to attain our national industrial objectives,” Nzenza added.

She called on the female executives and firms to take advantage of institutions such as the Empower Bank and ZimTrade to develop their companies.

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