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Tue 18 Mar 2008, 13:11 GMT
lpm.jpgLUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia will construct a new coal-fired power station and scrap import duty for power-saving electric appliances in a bid to alleviate power shortages at copper mines, President Levy Mwanawasa said.
Mwanawasa said in remarks on state television late on Monday that he had instructed his finance minister to scrap and suspend some taxes on imported electrical appliances that use less power.

Zambia charges a maximum of 25 percent import duty and 16 percent value added tax (VAT) on various imported items.

“The government is looking at encouraging coal based electricity generation using the Maamba Coal Mine…but it will take many years for these efforts to produce increased capacity,” Mwanawasa said.

Officials say Maamba Collieries has coal reserves of around 78 million tonnes which can last for over 70 years.

Mwanawasa said Zambia will introduce cost-saving measures to encourage domestic users to trim consumption to enable state power utility Zesco provide adequate electricity to the copper mines, the country’s economic lifeblood.

Mwanawasa said power demand has been boosted by several new mines and industrial plants, among them the Lumwana copper mine, which is due to start producing 165,000 tonnes of copper per year in 2009 and a new nickel mine in southern Zambia.

Zesco data shows that it generates up to 1,000 MW of power compared to total national demand of 1,600 MW during peak hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Demand is expected to rise to 2,500 MW in the next five years.

Mwanawasa said Zesco had switched off ageing power generators for renovation in a bid to have increased capacity by March 2009.

“While this will help, I am afraid to say the overall supply-demand balance will remain tight because new sources of demand for energy have emerged and will continue to emerge,” he said.

Zesco has said it requires $2 billion in new power investments to meet national demand.

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Seattle Times business reporter

GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa battles stereotype of Africa in chaos.

Even for a country with a relatively stable democracy and growing economy, Zambia hasn’t had much luck finding Americans willing to invest there.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said he hopes to change that by introducing more Americans to his country and fighting the stereotype of Africa as a place defined by war and chaos.

Speaking to local business leaders Monday, Mwanawasa said Zambia has become a center of peace and prosperity in the region. The country has emerged from a long period of economic decline to achieve an average annual 5 percent growth in gross domestic product for the last five years.

“It’s the first time the country is experiencing such strong positive results,” the Zambian leader said, adding that sustaining the success could bring about an economic transformation to improve the lives of ordinary people.

The landlocked country of 12 million people in southern Africa still suffers from high unemployment and crippling poverty, with about 68 percent of the population falling below the poverty line of $1 per day.

Zambia has taken a strong stance against corruption and created a foundation based on the rule of law and respect for private property, Mwanawasa said.

The country’s main industries are copper mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.

A former British protectorate that gained independence in 1964, Zambia is encouraging more foreign direct investment and growth of the private sector to help reduce poverty.

“When you invest in Zambia, you’re putting GDP in the pockets of Zambian people,” Mwanawasa said.

Mwanawasa, 59, was in the United States for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. He traveled here at the invitation of the Seattle-based Initiative for Global Development, a national network of business leaders promoting policies to end global poverty.

He and a delegation of senior government officials and business leaders were scheduled to visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks on Monday.

Mwanawasa said he had dinner Sunday at the house of former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz, a Zimbabwe native who lives on Mercer Island.

While Zambia has had a rush of investment from China recently, attracting U.S. business has been an uphill battle.

On previous visits to the U.S., “the response hasn’t been encouraging,” Mwanawasa said.

“So far Africa has been known only for the bad news,” said Felix Mutati, Zambia’s minister of commerce. “In Africa, we’ve got problems with HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,” he said, “but we’re not a diseased country.”

In Zambia, the Gates Foundation funds a malaria-control program run by PATH that aims to cut malaria cases by 75 percent and become a model for the rest of Africa.

Zambia has introduced incentives to encourage foreign enterprises, such as tax-free profits for the first five years and duty-free imports of capital equipment, said Mutati.

Energy, IT infrastructure, agriculture and eco-tourism are promising areas for development, he added.

“We don’t want help,” Mutati said. “We want investment. We want partnership.”

Zambia’s slide into poverty began after world copper prices fell in the 1970s. Since then, the economy has become somewhat more diversified, even as the price of copper has climbed.

The government began privatizing the copper industry in the 1990s. Copper contributed 75 percent of the GDP in 2002 but only about 45 percent last year, said Mutati.

Asked about the political and economic crisis in neighboring Zimbabwe, Mwanawasa called the situation “extremely worrying” but added that economic sanctions will not help.

He threatened to boycott a European-African summit meeting in December if Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was excluded, saying Western leaders must be willing to talk to the leader widely considered an international pariah.

The chaos in Zimbabwe has choked off tourism, diverting more visitors to Zambia to see Victoria Falls, the spectacular milewide waterfall on the border between the two countries.

With room for only about 1,500 visitors, hotels in nearby Livingstone can’t cope with the influx, Mutati said. Its tiny airport, which had just a few flights a week three years ago, has 28 flights a week now. Several new hotels are under construction.

While Chinese companies have been criticized for labor practices in Africa, overall the influx of investment from China has been a good thing, Mutati said.

Cautious Western companies have hesitated too long. “They would go on their computers and do spreadsheets about risk,” he said, while “the Chinese make a decision first.”

Chinese have invested $900 million in Zambia for two economic zones focused on copper and agricultural processing, creating 60,000 jobs.

“Now we can see the West is saying we must run to Africa because if China dominates Africa, that sphere of influence can become critical as we go forward,” Mutati said.

Zambia also needs American-style business, said Wamulume Kalabo, chairman of the Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

U.S. companies tend to hire and train local people, with English as a common language. Chinese companies tend to hire their own citizens to work in Zambia’s mines and manufacturing sites because of the difficulty of communicating.

“The local people are not seeing the benefit initially,” Kalabo said, “because very few of them are being absorbed into the system, and the main reason is the lack of communication.”

Kristi Heim: 206-464-2718 or kheim@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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The factors boosting commodity prices such as copper, uranium, gold, cobalt, sugar, etc. are likely to continue, keeping those prices up …

The good times are here to stay in the short to medium term. Sugar is in high demand in the European Union and Nakambala can reap high returns from this. 

The price of gold, South Africa’s biggest export, has surged 16 percent this year, helping to underpin the currency for instance.  Copper has climbed 25 percent, benefiting Zambia, Africa’s biggest producer of the metal.

Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa is benefiting from rising prices of gold, oil and copper, helping the region’s economy expand an estimated 6.8 percent this year, from 5.5 percent last year. The challenge now is for countries like Zambia that are dependent on commodity exports to properly “manage” the commodity boom.

If we respect the truth, then we need to admit that commodity boom phases have not been managed well in the past, and we are at risk of making the same mistakes again. The main factors underpinning commodity prices were strong demand for platinum in devices that cut pollution in cars and rising demand in China and other emerging markets.

Still, commodity prices might drop, hurting growth in some African countries. To assume that current prices and the current boom phase reflects a permanent shift, rather than a temporary opportunity, would be a naive and risky approach to adopt. 

If our analysis is correct, then the slump will come and it will bring with it a significant decline in commodity prices but prudent asset management now would help governments that are diversified enough to transition into manufacturing, construction and service sectors.

 

 

 

However, with norminal GDP rising from $3.24 billion in 2000 to well over $10.71 billion in 2006; per capita GDP income thriving from $303.00  in 2000 to $902.00 in 2006; inflation falling from 26.1% in 2000 to just 9.2% for fiscal year 2006; tourism at its highest peak and a combination of other factors … the Zambian Enterprise is headed for some good times, that’s the memo this week from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle  

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.  

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.  

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The Zambian Enterprise is not only the largest producer of copper in Africa; it also has a perfect track record to enable it to vie for a “World Class Credit” rating.

Usually referred to as “first credit” in economic terms, the rating would enable Zambia to issue international bonds and enter the elite class with incentives similar to those in developed nations.

Should this take place, Zambia whose economy currently accounts for only 1 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s $544 billion economy, would be the third country on the continent to issue such bonds.

“… if we went for a rating, we’d be able to issue a euro-kwacha bond for example … the country will probably seek its debut rating “shortly,” … there has never been a better time than this … with a buoyant economy and a good track record, I think it’s about the right time to subject ourselves to a rating,”… said the Manchester educated and one time professor of economics at the University of Zambia now Bank of Zambia Governor – Dr. Caleb Fundanga without being date specific.

The European Investment Bank, the finance arm of the European Union, in December 2006 sold 500 million pula of senior unsecured bonds, with settlement and payment in euros, the first-ever international issue in Botswana’s currency, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

South Africa, the continent’s largest economy and Botswana, the nation with the highest rated debt in the continent, are the only southern African nations with foreign currency denominated bonds.

Zambia has a lot of support and may need to fully capitalize on that support if reality has to come. Out-going World Bank country manager was one of Zambia’s strongest advocates to the same.

“… Zambia is clearly one of the countries where the impact of debt relief has been massive and could be very clear,” Ohene Nyanin, the former World Bank’s country manager based in Lusaka, said in an interview. “It is a very big fiscal space that has been opened up.”’

The country’s inflation rate dropped to single digits for the first time in 30 years in April 2006 as the government moved to control spending. Zambia has also benefited from a fivefold rise in the price of copper, which accounts for 53% of the enterprise’s income.

International bonds are a certificate of debt issued by a government or corporation guaranteeing payment of the original investment plus interest by a specified future date and have the ability to increase cash inflows at an accelerated rate thereby increasing a country’s liquidity.

classy-daddy-3.gifTwo to three years ago, I introduced a bond phenomenon on Zambia Online and even suggested the issuance of bonds as a debt instrument necessary for capitalizing the New Zambia Airways as a private enterprise.

It was to be privately driven and ran; some nay sayers rose up to short the idea down but yet even today more experts are vying for a bond rating that would elevate the country’s standing as well as help grow our economy above 7% come next year.

It is highly feasible that some critics were new to the subject and saw no benefit to the Zambian Franchise at all … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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br-01-2.jpgZambian small scale farmers can start creating co-operatives in readiness for a totally new market in Asia. On August 16th last year the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Development and Reform Commission announced that they had confirmed with the World Bank that China’s national per capita national income had reached US$1,740. 

Their disposable income per capita of urban residents increased 11.3% compared with the same period of the previous year, after deducting the price increasing factors, the real increase rate was 8.6%. The expenditure per capita increased 9.9%, and a real increase of 7.2%. Of which, the services expenditure increased 8.6%. 

This means that the Chinese economy is moving from an agricultural type we have always known it to be into an industrialized phase. With shrinkage of the grain harvesting area, with the loss of irrigation water, with desert expansion, with the conversion of cropland to non-farm uses, with the shift to higher-value crops and the loss of farm labor to the coastal provinces – China faces an uncertain food security future. 

In the North China Plain, for instance, which produces half of China’s wheat, water tables are falling by 3 to 10 feet per year, and China will soon be, for the first time in its history, dependent upon the outside world to feed itself. And that’s where the co-operative farmers from the Zambian Enterprise could come in and reap “GOLD” by aligning themselves with the future crop needs China will soon itself with.

But why co-operatives? It is because these (co-operatives) have the capacity to mobilize both the human and financial resources needed and work with the Chinese Embassy in Lusaka using an organized front while at the same time finding sister co-operative organizations in China to operate as export centers for them.

There are two kinds of China, the New China and the old China. The New China is highly industrialized, highly technical and highly cutting edge but it still relies on the Old china for food supplies. Old China is co-operative based and partnering with Old China would reap the highest benefits in a symbiotic fashion.  

Incidentally, nearly all of China’s foods can be raised in Zambia. For instance their favorite meat is pork, they eat a lot of ducks, regular hens from villages and whole food fish similar to what can be harvested in Lake Tanganyika, rice from Western and Luapula provinces and corn from Southern province. 

Cargo freight could start picking up food exports to China as early as next year from Lusaka via Dubai into Xian in readiness for Beijing Cuisine the following day.  China is a huge market and with 1.3 billion mouths to feed not even the Zambian Enterprise can feed all of them but therein lays a huge opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle.  All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc. 

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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It is always necessary to know who your competitors are … the Zambian Enterprise has some very serious ones when it comes to being the best destination for investment capital from around the world. 

There is limited cash flow around but unlimited competitors and so new aggressive means and ways have to be available for our Enterprise to increase its competitive advantage.  

The first thing in knowing what needs to be done is identifying those competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses then find a way to undercut them.

It is doggy world out there and if we have to be at the cutting edge of this competition, we have to diverse some serious strategic plans to help us achieve out objectives. 

Believe it or not our business unit at the Zambian Chronicle has identified some serious competitors; some in our own backyard while others are up north. Those in our backyard include, Mozambique whose real GDP has been growing at a rate 2% higher than ours.  

This is a serious pace especially that if you considered the fact that US and the Mexican economies were the same in terms of GDP a hundred years ago. However, the US economy was growing at a pace of 1% higher than the Mexican economy and when you factor in power of compounding, the US outpaced Mexico and the rest is history. 

Another serious competitor remains South Africa. To its merit, South Africa can’t be considered a third world nation and capital inflows continue to outpace those of the Zambian Enterprise.

The other nation in our backyard is Angola while Congo’s instability makes us a better destination despite its potential. Up north, Tunisia and Algeria are very serious contenders but for different reasons that can be copied and implemented to help us compete with them. So, here are some things we can do to increase our competitive advantage. 

Ø       Create a tax free zone; choose a province where there are less economic activities and target it as a tax free zone for the next 10 to 15 years. This could be Western, Eastern or Luapula Provinces for instance, just pick one or two. Malaysia did this at the turn of the century and today houses the world’s tallest building even before 911 happened.

Ø       Encourage remittances from nationals living abroad. One reason South Africa, Algeria and Tunisia are outpacing us is because remittances from their nationals living abroad were almost as high as FDI (foreign Direct Investment). In fact, the largest recipients of remittances last year were not the traditional South American countries, it was Sub-Saharan Africans. 

Ø       Lower taxes including VAT if necessary. Lower taxes encourage tax payers to declare more reasonable taxes and discourage tax evasion. This also helps broaden the tax base while those tax savings are easily turned into new investment ventures thereby encourage and or increasing productivity. 

Ø       Deliberate government investment into infra-structure development. One reason Zambia is more attractive is because of its political stability but its greatest disadvantage is lack of infra-structure. Government spending has a multiplier effect seven times larger than that of the private sector. 

Ø       Over 44% of our population lives in urban areas, this is a great asset when compared to Mozambique, Angola and Congo for instance. This is because it would be easier for the Zambian Enterprise to turn this human capital into a highly productive machine than our competitors. 

Our business unit at the Zambian Chronicle will continue to explore more ways as we research issues that will help our Zambian Franchise to be a shining star, because Zambia Is Greater Than Any Single One Of Us … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.