Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

US biz association honours top companies

U.S. Ambassador Charles A. Ray and Fred Mutanda, Chairman of the American Business Association of Zimbabwe (ABAZ), today announced the winners of the first annual “Investing in Zimbabwe’s Future” Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards: Econet and African Sun Zimbabwe Limited.

The “Investing in Zimbabwe’s Future” Corporate Social Responsibility Awards are being launched for the first time this year by the U.S. Embassy and the American Business Association of Zimbabwe (ABAZ). The awards will be given at the ABAZ Just Business Forum closing reception at the Celebration Centre September 29.

Intended to be an annual recognition of outstanding displays of corporate social responsibility, the Investing in Zimbabwe’s Future award winners are selected by a group of ABAZ board members and U.S. Embassy officials. Criteria for selection includes demonstrated commitment, including leadership and resources, to improving the lives of the future generation of Zimbabwe and concrete efforts to open education and job opportunities for young Zimbabweans.

Econet and African Sun Zimbabwe Limited continued investing in Zimbabwe’s youth by supporting young, gifted but economically disadvantaged Zimbabweans as they work to build their educational and professional capacity. This support, for example, enabled nine disadvantaged Zimbabwean students to travel to the United States for tertiary education.

The nine students were among the 23 students who were awarded scholarships by American colleges and universities to pursue degree programs after undergoing the United States Student Achievers Program (USAP) in 2009-2010. Their scholarships in the U.S. cover full board and tuition for four-year degree programs.

Leading telecommunications service provider Econet Wireless Ltd donated US$20,000 to six USAP students on their way to the U.S. to begin studies this September. The funding covered various urgent needs including university fees shortfalls and personal expenses for Hazel Zengeni – MIT; Rudo Mudzi – Mt. Holyoke College; Tracy Lukwani – Mt. Holyoke College; Desmond Rgwaringesu – Reed College; Elvis Rambanapasi – Quinnipiac College; and Tinashe Mubvuma – Swarthmore College.

All six students are previous beneficiaries of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Scholarship fund, a Pan-African scholarship fund to which Econet is the main benefactor.

Leading hotel and leisure group African Sun Limited donated U.S.$7,500 worth of airline tickets for three USAP students to travel to the U.S. The students are Tendai Mudyiwa – Kalamazoo College; Norman Chamusa — College of Wooster; and Chido Matara — Berea College.

Ambassador Ray encouraged other corporate interests similarly to contribute to building a better future for Zimbabwe’s young people. “It is our hope that through more public-private partnerships like these, Zimbabwe will build a much better future where young people have many education and employment opportunities to choose from.

This will take hard work and the private sector must be fully engaged. Through these CSR awards, we are very proud to recognize the dedication of certain companies to create a better future for all the people of Zimbabwe, and especially for young people.”

The American Business Association of Zimbabwe (ABAZ) is the collective voice of U.S. business and investment in Zimbabwe. It serves as both a forum and representative body for U.S. business and Zimbabwean/American business interests to encourage a better understanding of the role of business in a competitive market system.

The 2010 Just Business Forum seeks to make a significant contribution to debate on economic policy in Zimbabwe and the development business-friendly economic policies contributing to economic recovery and growth.

The U.S. Embassy’s U.S. Student Achievers Program (USAP), which targets highly-talented, economically-disadvantaged students from all over Zimbabwe, successfully helped to secure 4-year scholarships worth nearly U.S.$5 million for 23 Zimbabwean undergraduate students in 2010. Over the last ten years, USAP has sent more than 200 Zimbabwean students to study in the U.S. Over 1,250 Zimbabwean students are currently studying in the U.S.