By George Vee Nyathi
STAKEHOLDERS in the ongoing Iphutheho Convention have resolved to push for the establishment of a regional bank that is set to be the engine room to drive economic activity as part of efforts to drive the marginalized Matabeleland region out of economic abyss.
The convention, which began early this week, brings various socio-economic and political stakeholders from the region with an aim of finding long lasting solutions to the region’s four decade long problems.
One of the convention’s organizers, Effie Ncube told CITE this Thursday that the regional bank was an idea stakeholders identified as a very vital key to the economic challenges that have haunted the region so far.
“This has seen Matabeleland as a region, failing to come up with activities that could empower it and make it stand on its own without relying, economically, on funding from outside. So, stakeholders, having realized that, felt there is need to come up with a regional bank where they would, as communities, invest resources in establishing the bank and growing its financial base so that it is able to, in turn, finance economic programmes that will sustain the region, going forward,” Ncube added.
Research shows that this would not be the first such initiatives within Southern Africa as the Venda community set up and financed the Venda Building Society in South Africa. The fund was, however, subjected to looting that eventually brought it down to its knees.
“Going forward, stakeholders have agreed that there will be need to register that bank and have families interested in being shareholders in the bank coming on board and investing resources in that bank.
“The bank will have to be established within a set of laws where it will not be cumbersome to access the resources as and when they are needed. There was a call, however, from the stakeholders that there is need for us to ensure that the bank is not sabotaged by enemies of the region through ensuring that beneficiaries are thoroughly vetted and there should also be a serious bias, when releasing funds, to projects that will be implemented in the region to change the livelihoods of people from the region,” said Ncube.
According to Ncube, stakeholders agreed that they would soon put in place community savings clubs where they would pool resources at local level to fund micro initiatives on a revolving fund basis.
“It is from these revolving funds where the community, at the right time when all is set for the regional bank, will then derive the investment that the community will then make with the envisaged bank.
“From the bank, communities are looking forward to getting resources that will enable them to venture into projects such as livestock farming, horticulture, small scale mining and other initiatives,” he added.
The convention ends this Friday with resolutions expected to be made on an array of issues that affect the region. Stakeholders hope that this is the starting point to an economically, politically, and socially sound region.