Category Archives: Creative Industries

Zimbabwe’s localised, restructured economy of the 2010s: Harare/Bulawayo vs Zimbabwean secondary cities

Smaller cities across Africa are projected to double/triple in population over the next 15-25 years.

Ways to classify Zimbabwean urban areas

Given the structural adjustment policies, decline in off-farm opportunities and remittance flows, access to productive land is a major factor in ensuring balanced growth and effective service delivery in Zimbabwe’s 7-tier hierarchy of urban areas:

consolidated villages,

business centers,

rural service centers,

district service centers,

growth points,

towns

and cities.

While in the drier parts of Zimbabwe, many people have taken to mining/mineral extraction as a source of livelihoods. Several million of them. On a regular basis.

As a result, over 70% of small-scale miners have some level of mercury poisoning.

In the colonial era, towns grew where there was economic activity.

Apart from the likes of Harare and Bulawayo, there were:

Mining towns: Zvishavane, Mashava, Hwange, Shurugwi, Kadoma and Kwekwe

Estate towns: Chiredzi and Triangle

White farming towns: Chinoyi, Bindura or West Nicholson

Consider setting up your second home in a smaller town of Zimbabwe

Land reform in Zimbabwe localised the economy. Increasingly, benefits are generated in towns like Mvurwi — home to 7,500 — in Mashonaland Central. Whereas Zimbabwean megalopolises — like the capital city Harare — suffer from unregulated construction, overpopulation, power and water cuts, underemployment and strained sanitation and waste management systems.

As of October 2016, some 1,100 tonnes of garbage were generated daily in Harare.  Twice as much as that found in Johannesburg. This is partly due to slack in managing the packaging of food stuffs. Over 70 % of  domestic waste in Harare is biodegradable. But who will lead the way in the hectic city of over 1,600,000 people.

Can you keep it clean with just two automated sweepers operated by the city council?

Bulawayo is a different story. But similar in many ways.

Now let’s look at what is happening outside Zimbabwe’s mega cities.

Growth point Maphisa in Matobo district, Matabeleland South had 6 supermarkets as of October 2016 (when before 2000 there were none), 8 butcheries (from 4), 5 hardware stores (from 1) and over 30 kombi operators.

The occupied high-density stands have shot up from 223 to 1,118, while the medium-density ones have increased from 121 to 498.

Of course you can say that Harare, Masvingo and Bulawayo have all of that and much more. But the question here is comparative growth potential and harmonizing the community. In the restructured, unequally distributed economy that Zimbabwe is, managing smaller communities with their localized economies is potentially more doable than the bigger, more diverse ones.

And in terms of quality of living — with fast (even though still relatively expensive) internet, plus off-grid power from renewables like solar — we vote for smaller towns as the engines of growth in Zimbabwe.

This is what makes Zimbabwe’s provincial urban areas tick

In Chatsworth, a small town between Masvingo and Gutu-Mpandawanda, high-density stands cost USD900, medium-density USD1,400 and low-density USD4,000.

To operate a butchery and food outlet another businessman pays monthly rent of USD350. Buying two-three beasts per week, he pays USD400 – USD500 per each  and sells meat to customers at USD5 per kg.

Yet another local entrepreneur opened a large supermarket in 2012 that gets up to 200 customers cross its doors every day. She employs 34 people.

Earned in a day in Zimbabwe’s secondary towns 

I used proceeds from the hardware store to educate my children and to build my house. I built another house at my parents’ home nearby, — a businesswoman from Gutu.

Two hardware shops generate about USD300 per day each selling ploughs, harrows, cultivators as well as building materials to residents developing their stands in Chatsworth.

A cattle owner in Maphisa gets around USD800 per beast in Bulawayo. And USD50 per goat.

A brick loader in Mvurwi can get USD8. A transporter can get USD80 after accounting for fuels. Open market vendors in Chatsworth, a growth point of over 1,000 residents (and one hair salon) in Gutu district, Masvingo province, generate about USD10.

Resettled farmers start to compete with the vendors for customers: selling door to door to residents and schools.

Value supply chain in/between Zimbabwe’s secondary cities

Agro-vendors in Chatsworth — mostly women without land — have amplified the economic effect. Making use of the good transport connection to Masvingo they have made significant profits, and are the new landlords in the town: now investing intensively in new building projects.

Open market vendor in Maphisa pays USD10 for the bus to and from Bulawayo, sometimes venturing into the City of Kings three times a week.

Whereas to ship cattle from Maphisa to Bulawayo, private transporters charge USD40 per animal.

About 90% of houses built in Mvurwi used common farm bricks. Bricks sell at USD30 per thousand plus add USD15 to transport them.

A three-tonne truck owner each quarter has to pay USD87 for the truck license.

Kombis plying the Chatsworth – Mpandawana route pay USD15-20 every day at the police road blocks for operating illegally. Gutu Council requires them to enter the Mupandawana Terminus to offload passengers. They pay USD2 for each entry.

I am forced to pick and offload customers door to door or at farm gate [using dirt roads] to remain popular and sustain business.

“It is expensive for people without own transport to buy building materials from Masvingo town and load it on the train [the train to Masvingo costs USD1] or public transport. Expenses of buying from afar forces them to buy from us,” shares a Chatsworth salesman.

Special thanks to Ian Scoones and his https://zimbabweland.wordpress.com/ blog

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Talent and literary agency: dummies edition

The single biggest expense most companies incur is the cost of acquiring the customer. Every other move increases your customer’s immediate and lifetime value.

As a patient talent manager or a shrewd talent and literary agency (TLA) owner you could choose to make no profit until you’ve secured your talent and showed them the easiest way to return to you at any given time.

If you manage to find creative ways to not make a living from your core offer but rather assidiously convert leads into paying customers — sometimes at the expense of your profit margin — you could become unstoppable.

You could take everything you make from the Core Offer and reinvest it to acquire more customers. You build a system in which you can spend more to acquire more customers than your competitors.

Keli Lee sharing wisdom as Head of Casting and Talent for ABC Entertainment:

Every night in New York I would see a live theater production or a comedy show. I would look for outstanding talent, bring them in for auditions, and even if the actor wasn’t cast, I would bank the information. You want a list of people who you know are good and draw from that talent pool when the right character comes up.

Another way to boost your success as a talent and literary agency manager/owner is not to think of yourself as an agent. Train yourself to employ one of theseven heuristic methods that help you think clearly: purposefully think in terms of broader definitions and see what insights you’ll gain from the perimeters. Take Irving Paul “Swifty” Lazar who described himself as a “dealmaker” and as such didn’t feel constrained by the normal rules of talent management of his time. Lazar was famous for his swiftness in making deals for any talent, not limited to his own clients.

For those of you scared by the prospect of alienating TLA colleagues, most of the times you can always work out some kind of an amicable arrangement with whoever you initially cut out of the deal.

Sometimes he takes his ten per cent from the buyer, sometimes from the seller—sometimes, it was rumored in the old days, from both. This is exactly how creative TLA manager Lazar helped himself test the waters and check the market value of a best-selling author.

Most creative businesses fail because they either…

  • ..fail to offer a desired “After” state (The offer sucks)
  • ..fail to articulate the movement from “Before” to “After” (their marketing is mediocre)

Great TLA managers speak to how a talent will FEEL, how their AVERAGE DAY will change and how their STATUS will elevate.

Consider some of these marketing tips:

Aim for a gut reaction, and pay special attention to how your materials look when scanned quickly (no one has the time or inclination to do that anymore).

Some 90 % of all data that our brains process is visual. Use images—but make them special.

We are wired from birth to recognize and prefer human faces. Use real people in your talent marketing materials.

62 to 90 % of our feeling about a product is determined by color alone. Be mindful about colors.

We have an innate desire to conform. Remove anxiety, signal belonging and build credibility with an audience by using endorsements from well-known influencers in your market; customer testimonials woven into the fabric of your website.

Email andreakozlov@gmail.com for more personalized tips on how to manage talent and be profitable at it.

R&S Quantum: there will be as many electric vehicle chargers as gas station pumps

Lifecycle ownership costs of an electric vehicle are 1/10th of an internal combustion equivalent.

GREAT. What’s next?

Across the planet, companies involved in the EV charging industry “still have a lot of questions about what kind of charging, and what levels, will prove to be the most cost-effective.”

Oleh Martychenko of R&S Quantum, a Ukrainian  fast EV charger manufacturer, estimates that as many electric vehicle chargers will at some stage be deployed in the world as the number of gas station pumps today. Mr Martychenko is also an M&A expert.

Oleh
Oleh Martychenko of R&S Quantum, a Ukraine-based manufacturer of fast chargers for electric vehicles

Before that happens, as an EV charging station operator/service provider at peak hours should you aim for a max 5 min charge and max three vehicles in the line before each charging port? Or is it already bordering on the risk of scaring loyalty out of EV drivings customers?

To learn more go to R&S Quantum.

Army help reduce shortage of schools in southern Zimbabwe, 108 to go

Summarized from a story by Thupeyo Muleya

Zimbabwe has to build 2,000 schools to meet current demand.

Out of which, 20 primary, 75 satellite and 13 secondary schools are lacking in Matabeleland South.

The province also has to cope with a dropout trend at secondary level, where children had to walk for 5-10 km to the nearest school. Most of the dropouts come from communities living along the borders with Botswana and South Africa.

Major General Trust Mugoba, Zimbabwean army’s Chief of Staff responsible for operations and training says Beitbridge had the least number of army-initiated infrastructure development projectsand the army works to address this issue.

Beitbridge is a Zimbabwean  border town located just north of the Limpopo River, 321 km north-west to Bulawayo and 585 km north-east to Harare via Masvingo. The Beitbridge border post is the busiest road border post in southern Africa.