The year 2011 was yet another eventful year for the local business community with some companies faring well as shown by positive balance sheets despite operating under a challenging environment while other entities made headlines for their boardrooms squabbles and viability problems.

The fast improving economic climate spurred some companies to perform well during 2011 with firms such as AICO, Fidelity, Delta and CAFCA performing reasonably well and showing growth in market capitalisation.

 

It was however a different story for other firms such as African Sun, RTG, Air Zimbabwe, Rio Zim and Renaissance Merchant Bank which were bedeviled with viability challenges.

During the first half of the year, Timba’s Renaissance Merchant Bank made headlines for gross abuse of depositors’ funds prompting the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to place the financial institution under curatorship.

 

It emerged that the corporate governance deficiency was not only confined to Renaissance as two Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed firms Hwange Colliery and Rainbow Tourism Group RTG also hogged the limelight following shareholder disputes.

For the greater part of the year, the aviation industry made a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons as the national flag carrier Air Zimbabwe’s operational challenges continued to mount. From industrial action by pilots to ageing fleet and souring debt, the problems at the airline seem insurmountable unless government intervenes.

In the area of investment, Zimbabwe is recovering as a major investment destination. The country witnessed the signing of the multi-million dollar deal between Indian steel giant ESSAR and government for the resuscitation of Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) as New Zimsteel.

The signing of the much-awaited 5-year economic blueprint, the Medium-Term Plan (MTP) in July was a major talking point in local industry.

 

The blue print envisages a sustainable economic growth rate of 7%. The second half of the year also saw full swing implementation of indigenisation regulations with most firms submitting their proposals despite the initial resistance from the mining industry.

 

As part of the compliance, several mining houses including Zimplats and Unki made headlines when they launched Community Ownership Share Trusts.

Zimbabweans had every reason to celebrate on the 2nd of November when the Kimberley Process participants came to their senses and endorsed the unconditional export of Marange diamonds.

 

The KP green-light was not the only major achievement as Zimbabwe once again made headlines following the successful UNWTO General Assembly bid.

 

For Rio Zim, the year ended on a low note as it is still weighed by huge debt amid the rejection by shareholders of the proposed 59 million rights issue.

As the year ends and a new one begins, there are brighter prospects in 2012 amid optimism that the country will attain the envisaged economic growth rate of 9.4% as well as consolidated the economic gains made so far.