The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Dollarisation to Dominate Banking Seminar

THE 43rd session of the Winter Banking School gets underway in Nyanga in about a fortnight's time with dollarisation set to dominate discussions at this annual event this year.

High-profile speakers from banking, mining, industry, Government ministries, agriculture and academia are scheduled to present papers.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono will be the keynote speaker at the event that will put recent bank crises under the spotlight.

RBZ senior division chief (bank licensing, supervision and surveillance) Mr Norman Mataruka would corroborate his presentation.

Fellow experts in the banking sector, namely Barclays Bank (Zimbabwe) managing director Mr George Guvamatanga, Agribank managing director Mr Sam Malaba will also grace the occasion. Other high-profile non-banking experts scheduled to address delegates at the event include Chamber of Mines president and Mimosa Mining Company managing director Mr Winston Chitando, and Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Mrs Abigail Shoniwa.

University of Zimbabwe Professor of Economics Ashok Chakravarti will address delegates on the eurozone crisis and its impact on Zimbabwe.

Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe executive director Mr Sij Biyam confirmed yesterday that dates for the event and presenters had been determined. "We have completed the programme for the 43rd Edition of the Winter Banking School. As usual, it will be held in Nyanga," said Mr Biyam.

The main theme this year's discussions is "Dollarisation of the Zimbabwean Economy, Challenges and the Way Forward".

The theme was chosen in light of the crippling liquidity problems that followed dollarisation, which has, however, brought its own benefits. Local firms have struggled considerably to access funding for recapitalisation and working capital after savings in the Zimdollar era were all lost during the decade long economic instability.

External funding has trickled in, but in very limited flows while low production levels and old equipment mean generation of meaningful revenue is very difficult amidst high external competition. This is despite the fact that the US dollar brought an array of benefits that has made business planning easier through predictability, low inflation, stability and elimination of foreign exchange risk.

Other topics for discussion include infrastructure development in Zimbabwe as a means for development, creating risk-free environment in banking and industrial development strategy for job creation.

In addition, presenters will deliver papers on overcoming challenges in agriculture, improved service delivery in banking and the role of technology and how to unlock Zimbabwe's mineral wealth.

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