INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

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INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Mukomwa » 28th April 2011, 11:08

Dear Zambia,

Someone should educate me why our ministers and investment institutions promote only foreign investment. Currently there is a big debate re the windfall tax in the mines with one former finance minister vehemently advocating for it while another (current) commerce minister would not explain its demerits to us commoners as it was "beyond our scope of understanding". In this debate and others on the economy of Zambia, the Zambian individual is an outsider (sic!).

Since the advent of privatization in Zambia, very little mention - if any - as been made on the role the Zambian individual plays in the exploitation and utilization of Zambian resources. When talking about investment, it is always how much foreign investment has been, or will be, mobilized, how much they (foreigners) will put in the economy, and how much they will suck out. Never is it how much the Zambians, individuals or collectively, will get out of it. We are given glimpses of how many (very low quality, low paying) jobs will be created, but never what the Zambians, individuals and collectively, will own of that investment.

Now, is it because we Zambians are incompetents, cannot run businesses, cannot invest local resources? Is it only foreigners who can run and own our economy? What then are Zambia's economic interests?

In a low economy as ours, there are up to 16 foreign - and only 1 local - commercial banks operating with more wanting to come to Zambia. From what I know about commercial banks, they on operate to make profit. If so many want to come and invest here (to make money), why are we Zambians not seeing and making that money also?

Someone should educate me...Dear Zambia,Dear Zambia,
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Mukomwa
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Moi » 1st May 2011, 12:05

Mukomwa,

I am surprised that no-one has picked this topic up. It almost feels like we the Zambian people have been brain-washed into believing that all things foreign are good for us. I don not think so. The powewrs that be should take a trip to the donor country and see how these same donor or investing countries will not allow the situation we are allowing in Zambia to happen in their own countries. The 'begging' mentality is a shame. Zambia has so much potential, if only some politician would have the balls to sit up and face facts. What is it that we don't have in zambia that foreigners bring? Nothing. What is it that a foreigner can do that a Zambian cannot? Absolutely nothing.

I am amazed at how we as a people spend so much precious time arguing and discussing completely useless topics and deliberately avoiding real issues that affect, us like this topic. There's a topic that's been going on for months on this forum about PF and their stance on whatever. Who cares? That does not affect Zambians as a whole. The state of the economy, on the other hand, affects us all.

I say it's time we pulled our fingers out and asked these politicianis to be transparent and accountable, and also to realise that Zambia is not their own little play ground to do with as they wish regardless of what people really want. Effing sods.
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Moi
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Rogue Trader » 1st May 2011, 12:44

I think its up to the people to show the 'leaders' the way.
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Rogue Trader
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Juju Banton » 1st May 2011, 18:23

Mukomwa & Moi,

I was also wondering why there were no replies. To me, there's more to it than being simply brainwashed. Here's my 2c.

Though the buck stops at the powers that be, the status quo of the Zambian economy essentially being run by foreigners and/or foreign companies cannot be strictly blamed on this government alone or the previous governments before that. The common Zambian also needs some introspection.

But first, let's point some fingers at the UNIP govt. The reliance mentality started with the old man KK. Seems Independence for him meant political independence but not economic. His socialist policies, while well intentioned, instilled a sense of dependency amongst Zambians. "The state will look after you." So instead of helping to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of Zambians' that we see today, KK took the meaning of the title 'father of the nation' literally and wanted to take care of Zambians in only the ways he thought were right. Turns out he wasn't a very good father at teaching his children to fend for themselves.

Then came FTJ and the foreign-friendly MMD. As corrupt as he was, liberalising the economy was one of his best moves. It introduced Zambia to the world and if you remember, FTJ toured the globe in successful attempts at attracting foreign investment. Truth be told, who else could he have gone to? Zambians? As I said, KK in his 27 years did not create a burgeoning Zambian-run private sector, so Zambians were out of question to fund those big projects. Learning from KK's failure, MMD was clearly not interested in the state running various sectors, so foreigners were the answer. The only problems I suppose was the corrupt manner in which privatisation occured, and looking back, probably not having powerful negotiators to look out for the best interests of the country.

So that set the tone. FDI, FDI, FDI. Foreigners will come with money which we don't have, create jobs which we desperately need, and contribute to the national coffers. Looking at the opportunities in virtually every sector, big and small companies came in along with hundreds of individuals from Europe, Middle East and Asia. The economy did indeed start growing.

Then came LPM. Finally, he set up the CEEC to help Zambians become the masters of their own destiny, but I believe that too has been a failure. So today, even RB has to court foreigners. And so dependent we are that even if the nationalist Sata becomes president, there is no way in hell he can turn his back on them, including the much despised Chinese.

I'll continue later...
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Juju Banton
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Moi » 1st May 2011, 22:01

Buju Banton,

I hear ya loud and clear. But and where does it all end? I agree with you; mistakes were made in the past, and that's where they need to be left; in the past. Please correct me if I'm wrong - I find that, apart from the dependency syndrome we also have the 'each man for himself and God for us all' attitude. I doubt that there ever has been, nor ever will be, a politician that solely gets into power (and politic) to better the lives of that particular country's people. It is such a shame. We have literary gone back to the pre-independence era. Colonization, but in sheep's clothing. That saddest thing tho is that because of poverty it seems we are too weak to fight for what is rightfuly ours. Makes me admire the guts of the people in the middle east. And I truly am ashamed of how we sit there and take everything the government shoved down our throats. I call for an uprising, and let know that we are a proud people. And we are proud to be Zambian.
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Moi
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby efyo » 1st May 2011, 22:48

Another problem we have is lack of financial discipline. The little extra money many zambians earn is wasted on flashy cars and wasteful luxury. Only when we as citizens and instituitions develop financial discipline can we then start to fend for ourselves......the germans and japanese are obsessed by financial dicsipline and no wonder they are where they are
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efyo
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Juju Banton » 2nd May 2011, 11:37

Moi,

Where it all ends? After having castigated previous governments, we are left with one more group that should also shoulder the blame for the current scenario; Zambians
themselves. That's where it ultimately ends, with every Zambian man and woman. Forget what I said about the buck stopping at the government's doors. As mentioned before, it is simply wrong for us to pin all the blame on the government of the day.

1. Yes, foreign firms were given incentives of all sorts to encourage them to pump in their millions of dollars. Fair enough, this did not create a level playing field to begin with but then again, how many Zambians got together and said "We'll buy this, don't give it to the Indians/Chinese/British?" I'd say none. In fact, how many Zambians get together today and say we'll take over that closed down mine or open up this factory. Just take a close look at the industrial area in Lusaka, Kafue Road, Great East Road and others. Virtually all industries are owned by foreigners or Zambians of foreign origin.

2. Liberalisation of the economy also meant the immigration department being liberal with issuing out work permits and other permits for foreigners. These guys
came to Zambia smelling the opportunities that existed then, and still exist now. They were not big conglomerates that were given special treatment, rather they were regular people (on par with Zambians) who flocked to Zambia with a few thousand dollars to try their luck. Now here was a level playing field. But see them now and what they have made of those few thousand dollars and see the Zambian who also had those few thousand dollars. As efyo says, it's our lack of financial discipline. I always say Zambia is Africa's USA; the land of opportunities. If Zambians don't seize these, others will.

Over the years, the entrepreneur in me has seen dozens of opportunities just waiting to be grabbed, opportunities that will be firsts for Zambia. Sadly, I can safely assume that for more than half of those, a foreigner will beat us to it. Though lack of finance will be a hindrance, it won't necessarily be the case always. It will be have to be our attitude, our lack of hunger for progress. We are crying for change of govt. My foot! Change begins with you and me. Why did it have to take South Africans to open up our first modern mall? Why did it have to take a white Zambian to open Zambian's second modern mall?

3. Foreigners are even taking up so called menial jobs like tiling and bricklaying, and people are up in arms. Not me. Again, change begins with you and me. It's our work culture or rather the lack of it that is the issue here. It wouldn't hurt to admit it, but our work ethos are pathetic especially in the unskilled/low skilled labour market. And come to think of it, even in middle management level. For the low jobs, We don't seem to take pride in what we do and we're in a hurry to make the money without looking at our quality of workmanship. My own example, when building a small project, out of helping a fellow Zambian I gave him the contract. He messed it up and I learnt my lesson. Through word of mouth (from other Zambians), I came across this Lebanese man who I used for my next project. Now listen to this. He got work permits for 3 foremen from Lebanon. Not only were they supervising, they were getting down and dirty, and when it was lunch time, my fellow hungry Zambians' promptly took their lunch breaks at 13 sharp. I asked the Lebanese men why they were not going for lunch. In broken English, they said not until they finish. See? There's the difference. Right there.

After getting to know the Lebanese contractor, I asked him why he wouldn't hire Zambian foremen? His response made even more sense. He told me that from a financial
aspect, it just doesn't make business sense for him to be paying the Lebanese foremen what they would be getting back in their country and also provide them with accommodation, but he has to do that to maintain his standards for which he is getting known. He would save more than half if only he could find reliable Zambians. Ouch.

4. Moi, you are hundred % right about our Arab colleagues. They have finally found their balls to be heard. Over here, this year is the ballot and/or the bullet. Whichever it is, change begins with us, not with change of govt, because the current political scene is full of jokers and thieves.

So Mukomwa, while at first we might sympathise with fellow Zambians about foreigners controlling the economy, on closer inspection we have only ourselves to blame. Not
the foreigners, not the government alone, but us individuals. It's us that have allowed it to reach this stage. And that is also precisely the reason why foreigners are courted because just as Zambians have lost faith in the govt, the government seems to have also lost faith in it's own citizens to help themselves. If the foreigners are making it in Zambia, why can't we in our own country?

That is the million dollar question.
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Juju Banton
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby dale » 3rd May 2011, 00:32

Juju Banton, you wrote an extremely well thought out and articulate posting. Your questions are right on the mark!

I live in the USA and the whole situation in Zambia baffles me. The opportunity seems so apparent and yet it is taken up by so few native Zambians. Can you really blame foreigners from grabbing hold of the opportunities if Zambians won't?

thanks for the conversation,
dale
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dale
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Santa » 8th July 2011, 11:07

You have so elaborately stated that Zambia indeed has alot of potential and i totally agree with you. However, we all know that potential counts for nothing if not utilised by local or foreign stakeholders. Our problem as Zambians is that we like the blame game always want to find someone to blame for the lack of this and that but i stand here and say to you all zambians opportunities exist to all of us. Instead we dont grab those opportunities, sometimes we are not even aware of the unique opportunities that exist and when some foreigners grab them the blame game begins. This has got to stop now. Imagine what all you whiners could achieve if all those energies dedicated to blaming could be channelled to lets say development...Dear Zambia please i have faith in you
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Santa
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Moi » 8th July 2011, 22:53

Santa,

I'm right there with you, mate. If they can do it why can't we? We know the lay of the land better than they do (or we should know it, and by 'they' I mean ba mwiisa).
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Moi
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Kombwe » 9th July 2011, 01:01

efyo wrote :
> Another problem we have is lack of financial discipline. The little extra
> money many zambians earn is wasted on flashy cars and wasteful luxury. Only
> when we as citizens and instituitions develop financial discipline can we
> then start to fend for ourselves......the germans and japanese are obsessed
> by financial dicsipline and no wonder they are where they are


ba efyo,
very well said. As usual. Totally agree.

Another quality I see in those others that I find hard to locate in Zambia is a sense of personal sacrifice for the benefit of the nation.

After that Japan Tsunami thing and the subsequent damage to the nuclear reactors, the Japanese realized the urgency to do repair work before the environment become contaminated with radioactive waste. The workers charged with doing the cleanup and repair were going to be exposed to high levels of this toxic stuff.

So an army of Japanese old retired folks begun to come forward and volunteered to take over from the younger workers. They reasoned that the younger people had more to contribute to the future of Japan than them old folk.

I was impressed by their sense of looking out not for themselves by for their country and future generations.

I think in Zambia you would see the old folk developing springs in their legs and running away from such tasks as fast as they can. If you ask, mudala uyenda kuti? He'd say, fuseki mwana iwe, nileke chabe ine nidyeleko pang'ono.
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Kombwe
 

Re: INVESTMENT IN ZAMBIA

Postby Panoramic » 9th July 2011, 03:32

Good topic and excellent posts!
2 things come to mind.
1. deliberate policy on partnerships - local and foreign (working on this already - you'll hear about this soon in the media).
2. Clean up the education system thoroughly - Include a "now" local curriculum with emphasis on creativity and discipline coz thats where all this begins and ends i am afraid... thoughts?
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Panoramic
 


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