IoDZ Chairman, Mr Benson Gasura and your fellow Councillors;
Former chairpersons and Councillors of IoDZ here present;
Members of IoDZ;
Government Officials here present;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good evening!

It is an honour and a privilege to be accorded this opportunity to officiate on this special occasion as the Institute is launching what I am informed is going to be roughly a year – long period of its diamond jubilee celebrations. This is indeed an important milestone. At 60 years of age, a person is accorded the privileges of a senior citizen.

It is fitting that the Institute should recognize the efforts of all the men and women who, since the 12th March 1958 have contributed, in one way or another to the development of IoDZ. It is pleasing that a number of them are here with us this evening. May we please put our hands together and give them a round of applause. Thank you very much.

A brief history of the Institute is most appropriate at this point.

The IoDZ was established on 12 March 1958 in the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was comprised of the present Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was the first oversees branch of the Institute of Directors in the UK, which itself was established in 1903. On 12 March 1958, some 81 members held the first General Meeting of the Branch at the Duthie Hall, in the then Salisbury. Leading the gathering were the following:
•    Sir Ernest Guest (Acting Chairman)
•    Sir Richard Powell (Director General) of the IOD in the UK
•    G.S. Newson (Acting Treasurer)
•    Col. J. de L. Thompson; and
•    C.A. Male, who all constituted the Interim Committee members.

The approved resolution simply read, “That a branch of the Institute of Directors be formed in Rhodesia and Nyasaland”.

The Constitution was also adopted at this same meeting.
The election of the first president and committee members was conducted, resulting in Rt. Hon. Viscount Malvern being elected the first president of the branch. For what it is worth, this is the same Malvern who had been the first Prime Minister of the Federation from its inception in 1953 to 1956.
The IoD UK Director General, Sir Richard Powell who had come all the way to help set up the branch addressed the meeting on the aims and responsibilities of the Institute.

Sir Ernest Guest was elected the first Chairman of the branch at the first meeting of the Branch Committee held at Charter House, in Salisbury, on the same day, 12 March 1958.

I relate all this deliberately to point out the importance that was attached to the IoDZ from its inception. A lot was expected of it and from it. It was designed to play a very influential and important rolein business leadership and the economic affairs of the country.

It would not be until well after Zimbabwe had gained its independence that the first black chairman of the Institute was elected and that was the late Mr Ariston M. Chambati. He stood down in November 1993 and was succeeded by one Boyman Vincent Mancama in February 1994.

Assumption of Affiliate Status
A milestone was reached on the 31st December 1993 when, after some negotiations, agreement was reached that the branch be transformed into afully-fledged Institute, to be known as the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe. In the agreement,IoDZ became afully-fledgedInstitute affiliated to the  IoD UK, a status it retains to this day. The new status meant that the new body would have to fend for itself, generate its own revenues from membership subscriptions and its programmes. It also meant that, the Institute would pay a 10% capitation fee on revenues realized from membership subscriptions to IoD UK. In return, the IoDZ would be eligible to participate in all the programmes of the IOD UK including the Annual IOD Convention.

The Institute was established as a non-political, non-profit making and unincorporated membership body.

With the new status came the need to re-organize IoDZ for effectively running its own affairs. New governance structures were set up with a Council made up of representatives of a wide cross-section of business and professional organizations. The Council was and still is responsible for the overall direction and policy of the Institute.

An Executive Committee that was responsible for the  managementof the Institute’s affairs was also established. The post of an Executive Director, as head of the Secretariat was also created.

A business membership organization
It is important at this stage to emphasize the fact that while the IoDZ is a business membership organization providing a home for directors and executives of companies and other organizations, it is also there to champion the ethos of good governance within the whole fabric of the national economy of our country.  At the heart of its programme of activities are director professional training and development, membership networking functions, recognition of directors who would have excelled through the Director of the Year Awards, Director Placement Service and Consultancy support services.

Impacting the economy
The theme for the proposed year-long celebrations is “60 years of supporting director professional development and business growth.” This aptly captures how the Institute impacts the whole spectrum of our country’s economic welfare. Directors have a crucial role to play in providing corporate and entrepreneurial leadership. Is it not said, “better boards, better companies?”It is said that:“ A businessman’s leadership quality is judged by the company he keeps solvent”.

This reminds me of two business persons who ran businesses in a booming economy and were chatting. One asked: “Are you doing much in your business now?”
The other replied: ‘I should say so! Why, we are now so busy that we have employed a guy to insult new customers!!’ This is the challenge we face if we are to get our country to such a level of economic growth and development that we get to employ people to insult customers. It is achievable given how Zimbabwe is so richly endowed with most necessary resources ranging from human to natural.

The support that the Institute has given to the Zimbabwean corporate director over the past six decades has been very invaluable and commendable indeed.
The Institute has been and continues to be one of the core pillars of economic development.

Contribution to Sound Corporate Governance.
I must say I have followed with keen interest the contribution that the IoDZ has been making towards strengthening corporate governance in Zimbabwe and beyond.
•    Way back around 1999, it was involved together with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the development of a Code of Principles of Corporate Governance for Commonwealth countries and did help to establish institutions to drive corporate governance in Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Sierra Leone.
•    It assisted the Zimbabwe Government with the roll out of the Corporate Governance Framework for State Enterprises and Parastatals, partnering with PWC.
•    It is one of the three promoters behind the current comprehensive National Code on Corporate Governance of Zimbabwe which was launched on 9 April 2015.
•    It has been contributing to corporate governance legislation that includes the Companies Act draft bill and the State Entities Corporate Governance Bill, soon to become law. In addition, it is a founder member of the African Corporate Governance Network, a network of Institutes of Directors across the African continent whose key objective is to promote good corporate governance on the continent.

What lies ahead
I will now attempt some crystal gazing for the IODZ.
It was one Wayne A Johnston who said:
“Everyone is interested in the future, in what lies ahead, and particularly true is this of business. Peering into the crystal ball to discern the future can be interesting, frustrating, tedious, sometimes even humorous, but at all times it is an important phase of business leadership. Forecasting has been described as an educated guess”,

The demand for the Institute’s services is poised to grow quite considerably going forward. There will always be a new breed of directors, chief executives and managing directors who will need the Institute and its services.

I am aware that the Institute already has a data base of directors- in- waiting so to speak. There is, however, need to develop a special data base earmarked for parastatals so that Government ministries with such parastatals under them do ask for a list of names of persons with particular skills they require from the IoDZ; from which list they can appoint competent persons to be board members. Such a development will encourage many individuals to want to have their names on the Parastatal data base. It is important that the IoDZ becomes the Institute of choice for Central Government in terms of consultation on the national economy and for providing competent persons for appointment as board members on its parastatals.

The IoDZ should strive to assist Central Government in creating a conducive and enabling business environment. We should not underestimate what free business operators can accomplish; giventhe opportunity to create for themselves with minimum interference and restrictions.

I now have the pleasure to declare the IoDZ diamond jubilee celebrations officially launched.