President Emmerson Mnangagwa has indicated that he is now ready to pass on the leadership baton, but before that, he will work towards building a bridge between government and the business community so that his legacy lives on long after he is gone.

Speaking during a congratulatory dinner organised for him by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers on Wednesday evening, Mnangagwa, whose re-election in the August 23 and 24 elections is being challenged by opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa, told captains of industry that he wants to leave a lasting legacy in his second and final term.

He was accompanied to the banquet by his two deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Industry and commerce minister Sithembiso Nyoni.

Speaking on relations between the ruling Zanu PF and the business sector, Mnangagwa said he wants to pave the way so that when he leaves power, there will be a legacy.

“I want to clear the road between Zanu PF and the business community so that when I leave, my juniors will continue the legacy,” he said.

Chiwenga was initially tipped to succeed Mnangagwa, but there are growing fears that the Zanu PF leader is grooming his sons and close relatives as possible successors after he gave two of them deputy ministerial positions.

He recently appointed his son David as Finance deputy minister, while his nephew Tongai is Tourism deputy minister.

There are also speculative reports that Mnangagwa is pushing for Zanu PF to attain a two-thirds majority in Parliament so that they are able to amend the Constitution and extend his tenure beyond the current two-term limit.

Mnangagwa (81) assumed power following a military coup that ousted the late Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Mugabe’s downfall, according to analysts, was his failure to name a successor at a time when age was failing him.

At the time of his ouster, his wife Grace was reportedly angling to succeed him.

In his address to the business sector, Mnangagwa said government will continue to provide sector-specific incentives to boost production levels and capacity utilisation as well as the overall competitiveness of local products.

“I am pleased to note the positive trajectory being recorded across all sectors of the economy, with growth in production and productivity, capacity utilisation as well as exports.

“The total exports between January and August 2023, grew by 6,1 % to US$4,48 billion from the US$4,42 billion registered during the same period last year.

“Equally, machinery and equipment imported is at US$1,1 billion, up from just over US$1 billion during the same period, which should result in more goods and products being manufactured locally,” he said.

“Businesspeople like yourselves not only make money properly, sometimes you make it improperly, but it does not show when the money is in your account

“Let me assure you, myself and my team will do our utmost best to be listening leaders so that we create an environment for you to make more money,” he said

Meanwhile, addressing the 2023 ZimTrade Exporters Conference yesterday, Mnangagwa said government had, in 2019, set an export target which was surpassed within two years.

“As you will recall, the launch of the National Export Strategy in 2019 set an export target of US$7 billion by 2023, with the diversification of markets being a major objective.

“In 2022, this target was surpassed through unity of purpose and hard honest work, by our exporting companies, across all sectors,” he said.

Mnangagwa said government will continue to nurture a conducive business environment ensuring that capital feels safe in Zimbabwe.

“The policies of the second republic have seen us attract and retain investors for mutual benefits and shared prosperity. The development and modernisation of key enablers for production, trade and commerce remain a priority to speed up the growth of all sectors of our economy,” he said.

Mnangagwa also called on the private sector to invest in Zimbabwe’s abundant clean renewable energy resources adding that production, productivity, trade and exports will be scaled up through the movement raw materials and finished goods.

“In this regard, transport infrastructure as well as the requisite technology to facilitate value addition and beneficiation processes, are key. The modernisation and upgrading of critical infrastructure is ongoing,” he said.

Mnangagwa also challenged ZimTrade and other stakeholders to continue developing and nurturing mutually beneficial synergies across sectors of the economy.

“You must ensure that the established export markets have sustainable supply chains. Export market information must be less opaque and more accessible to all, no one and no place must be left behind,” he said. -Newsday