By Farai Chirimumimba
Originally launched by the regime of late President Robert Mugabe, Vision 2020 was a great concept. It sought to make Zimbabwe one of the biggest and ambitious economies in Africa that would be able to consolidate its leadership role in the Southern hemisphere and beyond and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena.
Finally we’ve reached 2020. The strategic goals implementation season is upon us. It’s time to pull out the bold statements and dust off the metrics matrix to gauge how much closer we’ve come to realising our organisation’s vision for the year 2020.
Back at the start of the millennium, the year 2020 emerged as an iconic date with a marketable touch for most companies and nonprofit organisations. It became the perfect target date for the next strategic plan.
For example, locally, Standard Bank launched the Seeing is Believing (SiB) Project. The Seeing is Believing Project was being implemented by Zimbabwe Council for the Blind (ZCfB), in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM), and aims to strengthen Zimbabwe’s Vision 2020 objectives in the north eastern part of the country.
The City of Harare as with several other cities and towns outlined an ambitious development plan for the city in their Vision 2020, while the tourism arm of government pushed for six figure tourist arrivals from the traditional western markets coupled with a faster change that keeps pace with a rapidly shifting world in their 2020 growth strategy.
Global corporates that include Coca-Cola outlined a six-part Vision 2020 that focused on People, Portfolio, Partners, Planet, Profit and Productivity to ensure future success. And Johnson & Johnson got in on the action in time, laying out “Citizenship & Sustainability 2020 Goals” that seek to build a new vision of health that leads to healthier people.
Many strategic planning teams joined the Vision 2020 bandwagon blindly and decorated their goal line. But how many organisations or institutions were able to fulfil the strategic goals? Was it feasible to determine that all goals will be met by 2020? Why not meet some of the goals earlier? For instance a great market opportunity on the horizon doesn’t wait to be fulfilled in 2020.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is not despite that as way back, in 2007 government reviewed its long-term economic revival blueprint, Vision 2020, admitting revival efforts had been sabotaged by “excessive monetary expansion” which had fuelled inflation to record levels.
The document acknowledged that economic revival efforts had been thrown off the track by runaway inflation, poor productivity and huge budget deficits, cash shortages, foreign currency shortages and speculative tendencies collectively weigh down Zimbabwe’s once promising economy.
However, the sense of futility in the past two decades can’t be the only reason that paralysed most institutions and organisations into (in) action and moaning. But it’s review times like these that call for effort and action. Yes, the ravaged economy is evident everywhere you look. But it’s not the excuse not to review one of the most ambitious visions not only in Zimbabwe but the world over.
Sadly, it turns out that like Vision 2030, 2020 was a mere date, albeit, a memorable one with a catchy phrase. But basing strategic goals on something as arbitrary as an iconic number can be disastrous.