In life you can either make excuses or you can make money, but you cannot do both at the same time. That is why my mother says – “If you have a good excuse – do not use it because it’s still an excuse.” Are you pursuing your dream or making excuses? Selah.
Many fail to start investing because they have excuses about the economy or any other excuses. Indulge me for a while as I look back at our country Zimbabwe as a conducive investment environment.
In November 1965 Ian Douglas Smith declared Unilateral Declaration of Independence and the country was isolated by the international community. Sanctions were declared against the nation. So a 30 year old caucasian “would be investor” held on to his money because the environment was not friendly.
From the mid 1970s the liberation war intensified and the nation became war torn consequently our potential investor sat on his money waiting for a more opportune moment. Who would invest in a war torn country?
Aah then in 1980 the country gained its independence but alas Robert Mugabe declared that he was a Marxist-Lennist Communist. Who would trust communists? Business people and investors prefer dealing with capitalists. So our investor again sat on his investment opportunities. The Minister of Finance then, Cde Enos Nkala, declared that he would tax the rich to pay the poor. Oh my this scared the investor. “Why should I spend my hard earned money to invest so that it’s taken away and handed over to the lazy poor?” Never mind the policy of racial reconciliation.
In the mid 1980s the country deteriorated politically as the issue of tribal intolerance and alleged “dissidents” started operating in Midlands and Matabeleland. And then the nation went into a political tailspin during the Gukurahundi era with tourists being abducted, people being massacred. Tourism was one of the pillars of this economy. Now the tourists were fleeing the “dissidents” despite our great tourist attractions. The President later called this a period a period of “temporal national insanity”. Of course our investor had a perfect excuse not to invest.
The mid 1980s were also characterized by the “peace keeping” military excursions into Mozambique to shore up the government of Samora Machel against the Dhlakama- led matsangas. This incursion drained lots of the nation’s economic resources.
In 1986 Samora Machel the revolunary was killed and later replaced by the moderate Joiachim Chissano who negotiated a cessation of hostilities in Mozambique and the former dissidents in that country where transformed to a political party. Thank God in 1987 the Unity Accord was signed to stop the internal strife but before our investor could take a position, we were plunged into one party state. Investors by nature are capitalist who love democracy – now what do we do with the one party state democracy in Africa?
Then followed the ESAP years with the Indigenisation drive. Our investor was uncomfortable. The early 1990s was a relative period of economic stability but the investor was now tired of the permanent resident at State House and wanted regime change. He could not trust the Marxist’s tactics.
Oh my God then in 1998 there was the land grab, the pay outs to War vets and the subsequent Black Friday. The country’s economy went into a tailspin. This was immediately followed by the undeclared war in DRC. The country’s resources were wasted with no commercial benefit to the country. The emergence of the MDC and the political unrest and failed elections followed through the 2000s. Our investor still holds back. Now hyperinflation – the first in a peace time economy that baffles the international community.
After the madness, at last in 2008 a near miss at regime change, followed by chaos and then the Inclusive government, followed by dollarization and the wiping out of previous savings. Now our investor’s money has been decimated by inflation and there is no more to invest. Unfortunately there were negative sentiments in 2009 because of the global recession triggered by the sub prime crisis in the USA and so our potential investor being cautious had another excuse.
Now in 2010 the investor has been sitting on his money for 45 years waiting for an opportune moment and giving excuses. And in any case the inclusive government in Zimbabwe does not seem stable and the prospects of another round of elections in 2011 do not augur well for our potential investor.
At 75 he is now old and cannot work anymore to regenerate his wealth. The Bible says: He who watches the clouds will not sow.
Strangely during all that time others who chose to disregard excuses exploiting opportunities in the environment and made wealth. In contrast a young Caucasian revenue authority clerk started investing on the stock exchange in the late 1970s during the heat of the liberation war. Today that gentleman is the largest single investor on the Zimbabwe stock exchange who holds shares in almost every major counter on the local bourse. He could have given the same excuses plus more. After all he was a lowly paid junior civil servant. The political environment should not dictate your wealth creation strategies. It’s just an excuse like many others.
Come to think about it. All these and more are legitimate excuses. But still excuses.
What is your excuse for not investing? Will you wait for ever? The choice is yours? Are you creating excuses or creating wealth? I am done with excuses.