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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia’s international reserves hit over a billion dollars this year, the highest figure in the country’s history, the central bank governor announced on Saturday.
Caleb Fundanga said Zambia had recorded 1.1 billion dollars in foreign reserves up from 706 million dollars that the country accumulated in 2006.

“Zambia has continued to record favourable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of gross international reserves of 1.1 billion in December 2007,” Fundanga said in a statement.

“This is the highest the country has ever accumulated,” he added.

He said Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2008, while the country’s inflation will remain at the single-digit level.

“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single-digit inflation,” Fundanga said.

Zambia’s inflation rate stands at 8.9 percent.

He said the country will face major challenges next year due to the projected rise in prices of petroleum products at the international market and the higher electricity tariffs in the southern African region.

Copyright © 2007 AFP

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2007-05-16-zambia-3_200.jpgFollowing our last memo on Maureen Mwanawasa As Zambia’s First Female President  a lot of interest was generated as to what the qualifications for the CEO of the Zambian Enterprise should be. 

First of all, we wish we could say it was all about the academic and or professional qualifications that should dictate one’s ascension to the highest office in the land. Unfortunately that’s just not the case … 

flag.gifThere are a lot of variables in play that make up the right mix to that ascension, however, and we would like to explore some of those in this week’s memo.

There are only two primary qualifications; one being one’s age and the other one’s nationality as dictated by our current constitution.  Others are predicated upon a fundamental concept of systems theory, a way of thinking about the world, a model that is followed wherever party politics are practiced.

With the above in mind the rest are up for the grabs and whoever can work the system to the fullest extent apparently ends up being the president of the Zambian Enterprise. We say working the system because that’s exactly what it is. A system is a set of interacting or interdependent entities, real or abstract, forming an integrated whole.

Being man-made systems, democracies normally have certain purposes and or objectives. They are designed to work as a coherent entity and whoever aspires to the office has to have a good understanding of their operational capacities. 

Systems are determined by choosing the relevant interactions we want to consider, plus choosing the system boundary and or, equivalently, providing membership criteria to determine which entities are part of the system, and which entities are outside of the system and are therefore part of the environment of the system. 

There are also closed systems and open systems but in a political environment one has to work within a closed system called a political party. It is no wonder no one wakes up and says he would be president tomorrow because a system has to be in place for one to achieve such an objective. 

Now, within a closed system are also other variables to consider such as membership, name recognition, positioning, timing, synergy and a whole lot others. While membership and name recognition are  the basic requirements, positioning and timing feed on each other to be functional. 

Synergy on the other hand is group determined, in other words the people within the system decide to choose leadership based on the maximum good for the collective. It is at this stage that they look at one’s qualifications; academic, professional and or otherwise as the best sale for their franchise. 

What we see in the first lady is her ability to work the system if she wants to be the next CEO of the Zambian Enterprise and with all operational capacities in place, the MMD as a  franchise can provide her the nomination which is hers for the taking unless of course she is not interested. 

classy-daddy-3.gifSo, with all the bluff and fluff about qualifications, it is all back to the basics otherwise we could have had the most educated and or professionally qualified person as the president of the Zambian Enterprise by now. 

Lastly, any such person wanting to make the grade can only be successful if they realized the importance of working within a system and that’s this week’s memo 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 came out close to near bottom of the Global Competitive Index for the period 2007 – 2008. In this year’s report to be released on October 31, 2007, Zambia is ranked 117 out of the 128 countries evaluated for the period.  

The World Economic Forum, which compiles the report, is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. 

The Report will include The Global Competitiveness Index featuring the 12 pillars of competitiveness, The Business Competitiveness Index, detailed country profiles and data tables covering more than 100 social and economic indicators.  

The rankings are drawn from a combination of publicly available hard data and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the Report. 

This year, over 11,000 business leaders were polled in a record 131 economies worldwide. We wonder whether Zambia sent any of our business and or political leaders to this forum to represent our enterprise and make sure we were adequately represented.

That aside, human inclination tends to dispel such a poor overall performance by stating that Zambia needed to be given a fair stake in the matter considering all the purported strides since made on the economic front. Well, for Africa alone for instance, Zambia does not even appear in the top 10 most competitive countries for crying out aloud.

  Rankings For Africa – 2007

Growth Competitiveness Index

*** Zambia Not Even In Top 10 ***

Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Country
Tunisia
South Africa
Mauritius
Egypt
Morocco
Libya
Algeria
Botswana
Namibia
Kenya
Score
4.72
4.42
4.22
4.09
4.02
4.00
3.98
3.83
3.76
3.61

It is worth mentioning here that our own analyses at the Zambian Chronicle have always been in line with the World Economic Forum’s assessments. We have been in the forefront on advising our Zambian Franchise that we have a great deal of competition around us. 

In Zambia we tend to over-dramatize issues; beating ourselves on the chest if you like. We beat our own drums without taking into account other externalities that really matter. It is this kind of myopic prescience that usually leaves us hanging when actual results are brought to bear. 

You cannot set your own standards as a country and want the world the judge you by those when the entire globe uses a different set of scenarios, such as ISO 9001.

For instance, around the world, productivity is a real measure of competitiveness and competitiveness leads to prosperity. As Jennifer Blanke, Senior Economist at the World Economic Forum explains in the video below, there are institutions, factors and policies that are required to be in place for a nation to be competitive. For the period under review, twelve pillars were used and only nine could relate to the Zambian Enterprise. To make matters worse, those that could relate painted a very sad picture in terms of scores. 

The first four pillars were classified under basic requirements and they included institutions required for normal business practices and we were ranked 56 out of 128 (perhaps one of our best in overall grading). 

The next pillar was infrastructure and we were ranked 90; third pillar was macroeconomics and we came out 122 (imagine that) while the fourth pillar in this category was health and primary education in which we came out as 118 (remember our article about how spending on education was pathetic?). 

In the efficiency enhancer, category three pillars were under consideration and they included the fifth pillar, which was higher education, and training and we came out 120; the sixth pillar of market efficiency earned us 86 and the seventh pillar of technological readiness we came out at 96. The last category we participated in was innovation enhancers, in which we actually came out to be at the bottom of the barrel. The eighth pillar was business sophistication and we had 128 out of 128 meaning we were the worst in the world. The ninth pillar is actually innovation; we came out 121 out of 128. 

It is no wonder we are always asking others to come and develop Zambia on our behalf.  The fact of the matter is, Zambia shall be developed by the Zambians for the Zambian but our current crop of politicians seems to denigrate Zambian ingenuity always looking outside for others to come and take the lead. 

classy-daddy-3.gifThe thumper mentality needs to end, the business of beating our own drums needs to end, the beating of ourselves on the chest needs to end and our state of mind needs to change if we have to play in the big league.

Let us for a change focus on what our institutions, our factors of production and our policies are before we can look elsewhere. 

Let us for a change use our debt-repayment savings and invest those into our children by providing quality education at all levels, providing exemplary health care for all our citizenry, and investing in our technological areas that encourage local innovation; that’s this week’s memo 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 Times of Zambia (Ndola)
 

 

Emmerson Muchangwe
New York

President Mwanawasa has arrived New York in the US ahead of a tight programme during this year’s regular session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Mr Mwanawasa, who arrived on Saturday night via London aboard a British Airways plane, was met at JFK International airport by Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Lazarous Kapambwe and other senior embassy staff.

The President was driven straight to New York’s Palace Hotel where he is staying.

At the hotel, the President was received by Zambia’s Ambassador to the US, Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, deputy permanent representative, Benard Mpundu and several other embassy staff.

The President is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Kabinga Pande, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Ben Kapita, Science and Technology Minister, Peter Daka, Health Minister, Brian Chituwo, Education Minister, Geoffrey Lungwanga, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Felix Mutati, Secretary to the Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Tens Kapoma.

During his stay in New York, Mr Mwanawasa, who is also Southern Africa Community Development (SADC) chairperson, will take part in various discussions, prominent among which will be one on climate change.

Mr Mwanawasa will start his activities at the UN by attending a reception to be hosted by Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, for all Heads of State attending the General Assembly.

The President will the be among the other Heads of State and Government who will participate in the opening of the 62nd regular session.

Mr Mwanawasa will also make a presentation on climate where he is expected to give a general view of how the SADC region has been affected by the changes in climate and how the various countries in the region are responding to the challenges of adapting to climate change.

The President will be part of the discussants in the plenary session to look at the issue of adaptation in more detail.

In the second plenary session which will look at the mitigation aspect, the President will be represented in the discussion by ministers of Agriculture and Health, Mr Kapita and Dr Chituwo respectively while in the plenary session on technology, Mr Daka and Professor Lungwangwa ministers in charge of Science and Technology and Education respectively would be among the discussants.

Others expected to partcipate in the discussions are Mr Mutati and Dr Kanganja in the fourth plenary session on financing aspect in relation to climate change.

The President will, among other activities, on Tuesday meet with Mr Jack Grynberg of Grynberg Petroleum Company to discuss various issues pertaining to investment before taking part in the round table discussion on human rights and democracy later in the day.

Mr Mwanawasa will on Wednesday deliver another statement to the General Assembly after which he will attend a general debate on the 62nd regular session of the United Nations.

The President will on Thursday travel to Arkansas State where he will receive an award from the Harding University before returning to New York where he will have several engagements including a meeting with Zambians living in New York on Saturday, at the Zambian mission.

On Sunday, Mr Mwanawasa will travel to Seattle in Washingston State where he will attend a business forum as well as meeting with several chief executives of various companies based in the US.

The President is also expected to attend to a number of business engagements in London before returning home in the first week of October.

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China, Filling a Void, Drills for Riches in Chad

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Chinese and Chadian workers at an oil site in southern Chad, part of China’s growing economic presence in Africa. 

By HOWARD W. FRENCH and LYDIA POLGREEN

Published: August 13, 2007

KOUDJIWAI, Chad — The small plane flew in low over a scorched, peppercorn scrubland, following a broad, muddy river that was all elbows on its run to the southeast.

New Power in Africa

The Pursuit of Oil

This series explores China’s deepening economic and political ties with Africa.

Drilling for Oil, No Strings Attached

The New York Times

Koudjiwai, a small village in Chad, is surrounded by a Chinese oil exploration zone. 

The first hint of humanity came with the appearance of an immense grid for seismic testing, laboriously traced through the brush. Finally, a lonely, hulking steel drilling platform popped into view.

Chad is as geographically isolated as places come in Africa. It is also among the continent’s poorest and least stable countries, the scene of recurrent civil wars and foreign invasions since it gained independence from France in 1960.

None of that has put off the Chinese, though. In January, they bought the rights to a vast exploration zone that surrounds this rural village, making the baked wilderness here, without roads, electricity or telephones, the latest frontier for their thirsty oil industry and increasingly global ambitions.

The same is happening in one African country after another. In large oil-exporting countries like Angola and Nigeria, China is building or fixing railroads, and landing giant exploration contracts in Congo and Guinea.

In mineral-rich countries that had been all but abandoned by foreign investors because of unrest and corruption, Chinese companies are reviving output of cobalt and bauxite. China has even become the new mover and shaker in agricultural countries like Ivory Coast, once the crown jewel in France’s postcolonial African empire, where Chinese companies are building a new capital, in Yamoussoukro, paid for by Chinese loans.

Surging Chinese interest in this continent has helped bring about what many Africans believe is the most important moment since the end of the cold war, when democracy was spreading in Africa and Western nations spoke of a “peace dividend” that might ease African poverty.

That blush of interest in Africa quickly faded, though, as did several of the new democracies, and Africans and Westerners have regarded each other warily ever since. Westerners complain about chronic corruption and ineffective government, while Africans lament broken promises on aid and a hostile international economic system.

The Chinese have stepped into this picture, coming to struggling countries like Chad with deep pockets, fewer demands on how African governments should behave and an avowed faith in everyone’s ability to prosper.

As Beijing’s ambassador to this country, Wang Yingwu, said at his residence in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital, where the electricity repeatedly failed, “We are exempting Chadian goods from import duties.” When the interviewer noted that Chad produced almost nothing besides oil, Mr. Wang was undaunted, saying, “If they don’t produce things today, they will tomorrow.”

To help make that happen, China plans to build the country’s first oil refinery, lay new roads, provide irrigation and erect a mobile telephone network, for starters.

With such intensive efforts across the continent, China’s trade with Africa topped $55 billion in 2006, up from less than $10 million in the 1980s. To achieve this growth, it has bypassed multinational institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and flouted many of their lending criteria, including minimum standards of transparency, open bidding for contracts, environmental impact studies and assessments of overall debt and fiscal policies.

In some ways, the new Chinese model of doing business in Africa is a throwback to an earlier era of Western involvement that is now widely seen as disastrous. In that era, borrowing countries typically had to work with companies from the lending nation, limiting competition and giving priority to business over development. Today, China takes things even further, signing long-term deals for rights to natural resources that allow countries otherwise unworthy of credit to repay their debt in oil or mineral output.

“In what manner has Africa progressed, in what sector?” said the Chadian president, Idriss Déby, referring to decades of close ties to the West. “Whatever the good will of Africa’s old friends and the old partners in its development, it has not progressed at all.”

Still, major doubts hang heavily in the air. Will China’s hunger for raw materials enable this continent to take off? Or will Beijing’s willingness to spend whatever it needs in Africa, without regard to fiscal prudence, democracy, honest business practices and human rights, produce a replay of booms past, enriching local elites but leaving the continent poorer, its environment despoiled and its natural resources depleted?

A Test Case for China

There are few better places than Chad to watch for signs of how China’s African gambit will pay off. Chad ranks just four places from the bottom on the United Nations scale of human development, yet it is emerging as a critical piece in China’s economic push in a broad swath of sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with Sudan and extending in virtually every direction.

Despite advanced prospecting by French and other Western firms dating back to the 1970s, Chad’s oil had never been tapped. The nation was simply too unstable and the price of oil too low to justify investing much here. The oil that had been found was of low quality, and there was no practical way to get it out.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A young man selling expensive imported gasoline in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital, where little oil revenue has reached the people. 

Drilling for Oil, No Strings Attached

That changed in 2000, when the World Bank agreed to help finance a $4.2 billion, 665-mile pipeline connecting Chad to Cameroon on the condition that oil revenues be used to fight poverty.

Chad’s revenues quickly outstripped expectations, but have not gone into quelling its immense poverty. Mismanagement and fraud have beset the World Bank plan from the start.

Beyond that, Chadian rebels with bases in Sudan have been trying to depose Mr. Déby, so he pressed the World Bank to relax its rules on how to spend the country’s oil money. A compromise was reached, and he went on a military spending spree, buying guns, aircraft and armored vehicles for his troops, along with a fleet of armored Humvees that stop traffic as they zoom about Ndjamena’s dusty, potholed streets.

Seeking an even freer hand with the country’s oil bonanza, Mr. Déby’s government also hinted that it could find other partners willing to invest in Chad, especially with the price of oil so high.

Then, in 2006, Chad ended a relationship with Taiwan and recognized mainland China, and the floodgates opened. China bought the rights to several oil exploration zones in the country from a Canadian company and has gone from bit player to center stage in Chad’s affairs, confident that it can wring smart profits from the most inhospitable conditions.

“The Canadians and the Americans are only interested in really big finds,” said a veteran Western oil production engineer who works under contract here for the China National Petroleum Company, the C.N.P.C. “Anything else they think is not worth their time. The Chinese have a different approach. They are happy with the smaller finds, just lots of them. “They seem to have a different time frame, too,” the engineer added. “They plan to be here for a while.”

Indeed, the Chinese dream in this region consists of making finds here and there, using the World Bank financed pipeline to transport the oil and eventually building new pipelines to connect with a Chinese-built grid in Sudan.

This vision requires not only finding more oil, but establishing peace between Chad and Sudan. Darfur, the chaotic western Sudanese region where at least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million been displaced in a government-backed counterinsurgency campaign, lies next to China’s exploration zones. Human rights groups maintain that Chinese weapons have played a major role in the carnage in Darfur.

Beijing’s recent diplomatic activity in the region may be explained by these Chinese oil interests as much as by American pressure on China to help stop the killing in Darfur.

“It used to be that when we had problems with our neighbor sending mercenaries to invade us that none of our complaints before the United Nations would pass, because China blocked them,” said President Déby. Since breaking relations with Taiwan and opening the door to Chinese investment, he added, “we have been able to raise our concerns without taboo.”

One topic that neither side was willing to say much about was the World Bank’s foundering efforts to ensure that petroleum revenues were well spent here. “I know the current pipeline is part of a project involving the World Bank and Esso,” said Dou Lirong, the general manager of C.N.P.C. International in Chad, calling the authority over revenues “a very complicated” matter. “I don’t know too much about it,” Mr. Dou continued, “but I’ve read a little bit on the Web.”

In fact, the very idea of the World Bank project is anathema to China’s deeply held noninterference policy, which has for decades governed China’s foreign policy and development. Underlying both is a kind of golden rule — China considers other countries meddling in its affairs unacceptable, and it assumes its friends feel the same way.

Cao Zhongming, deputy director of the Department of African Affairs, in the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “China won’t interfere with Chad’s internal affairs. As a policy, that doesn’t change. If C.N.P.C., World Bank and Chad reach an agreement, it’s between them.” But, he added, if Chad does not accept the World Bank arrangement, “neither C.N.P.C. or the Chinese government would impose it.”

“The Chinese government,” he said, “won’t enforce something that Chad thinks interferes with their internal affairs.”

To China’s new African allies, this notion is a breath of fresh air. After years of hewing to the latest fads in international development doled out by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Western donors and the United Nations, African governments have grown weary of the strings attached to foreign aid.

Thérèse Mekombe, vice chairwoman of the committee that monitors Chad’s oil money to make sure it is used properly, expressed surprise about the Chinese executive’s uncertainty about how oil revenues would be handled. Brandishing a copy of the law, she said all of the country’s oil earnings fell under the control of the World Bank arrangement. “The Chinese need to understand that they cannot arrive in a country and just impose their way of thinking,” Ms. Mekombe said.

A ‘Win-Win’ Business Plan

Chinese officials almost invariably describe their relationship with African countries as a win-win — based on mutual respect, aimed at joint prosperity and free of the overtones of exploitation and paternalism that critics worldwide say have governed much of the West’s postcolonial relationship with Africa.

China plans to build a petroleum refinery and a cement factory in Chad, both desperately needed in a landlocked country forced to import basic goods. Indeed, lowering gas and cement prices, which are among the highest in Africa, could do more to reduce poverty than the efforts of the World Bank and other donors combined, Mr. Dou suggested. “We can make a contribution to Chad,” he said.

Asked for an example of what win-win relationships look like, Mr. Dou offered what might seem an unlikely choice: Sudan. In its capital, Khartoum, he said, signs of China’s impact are everywhere.

“If you go to Sudan, you see paved roads,” he said. In the past, “the cars in Sudan had no turn signals, they point directions by hand. Now there are many good cars.”

Asked whether the oil money was really benefiting the Sudanese people, not just their rulers, Mr. Dou replied: “It is difficult for me to say. I am an engineer.”

To some critics, the answer is clear. “China’s no-strings-attached approach is problematic, particularly if its effect, if not its intent, is to undermine others’ efforts to change situations on the ground,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Often what is happening,” he added, “is underwriting of repression.”

Few Benefits for the People

Even with binding arrangements governing the use of oil revenues, Chad’s people have largely missed out.

In the Mayo-Kébbi region, where much of China’s feverish oil exploration is happening, the city of Bongor hardly looks like the capital of the booming oil region it is set to become. Along its tree-fringed main avenue, the briskest business is preparing the city’s signature dish — a chicken so scrawny it can be grilled whole in a few minutes.

At the lone hospital, a moldering colonial-era structure, a handful of workers tended to dozens of patients suffering from the classic ailments of poverty: hunger, diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, pneumonia. Civil servants were on strike, seeking to force the government, which according to World Bank estimates will collect $1.2 billion in oil money this year, to increase their meager salaries.

Pauline Maratangou, a 53-year-old midwife, did show up to work, and it was a good thing. Half a dozen pregnant women with bellies fit to burst patiently awaited her services.

“Vas-y, vas-y, vas-y!” she cooed, urging an 18-year-old mother to push. The maternity ward had only a padded bench for deliveries and no stirrups. The floors and walls were caked with dirt — the orderlies were on strike. Ms. Maratangou worked with quick, efficient motions, pouring iodine over the crown of the baby’s head as it emerged, trying to keep mother and child free of infection.

At last a little boy popped out, his head slightly misshapen, like a peanut shell.

“Ah, he’s a handsome boy,” she said, holding him aloft, feet first, waiting for his first bellowing cries. There was only time to snip his umbilical cord, weigh him — five and a half pounds, not too bad for this part of the world — and swaddle him in rags before the next mother, also 18, was ready to hop on the table still slick with afterbirth slime.

The grim conditions help explain why Chad has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. One of every five children will die before age 5.

“We hear that our country has oil, but we see no evidence of it here,” said Ms. Maratangou, the midwife.

Officials in Bongor say money from Chinese investments could fix schools and hospitals, or provide jobs and new roads. Under Chadian law, 5 percent of the oil revenue is supposed to go back to the community where the oil was drilled.

“We have very high hopes,” said Khalifa Malloum, the secretary general of Bongor’s regional government. “If the West does not want to invest in us, let the Chinese come. We welcome them. They don’t tell us what to do and they bring development. They are good partners.”

But Limassou Saleh, a community organizer in Bongor, said he was deeply skeptical. “Chad is maybe the most corrupt country in the world,” Mr. Saleh said. “We have a long history of human rights violations, of lack of transparency, of exploitation. China has a reputation for corruption. They are one of the worst human rights abusers. They have no record of transparency. What would we want with a country like that? Only to make our own problems worse.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/13/world/africa/13chinaafrica.html

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Oleg Deripaska, born in 1968, is Russia’s youngest billionaire at age 35. Deripaska accumulated a business empire through a series of ruthless and elaborate, though technically legal, takeover raids.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, he was a 23-year-old student at Moscow State University. He soon got a job in the fledgling metals trading market. By 1994, he was chief financial officer of Aluminprodukt.

Through the company, he bought a stake in a Siberian smelter plant, beginning his ascent to the top of one of Russia’s roughest industries. Deripaska became the plant’s manager to protect it from a takeover by its former owner, who once threatened him with a grenade launcher.

Later, Deripaska waged his own revolt to take over the shares of the London-based Transworld Group, then owned by controversial multimillionaire Mikhail Chernoi. Fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich became Deripaska’s partner; in early 2000, the two created a joint venture called Russian Aluminum (RusAl).

Today, RusAl has $4 billion in annual sales and is the world’s second-largest aluminum producer. Deripaska owns 75 percent of the company. His other businesses include power stations, Russia’s largest car and commercial vehicle manufacturer, and the country’s largest insurance company.

Estimated Worth:
$1.5 billionCurrent Position:
Chairman of the board of directors, Basic Element CompanyMajor Holdings:
Russian AluminumOther Interests:
Ingosstrakh Insurance; aircraft builder Aviacor; the GAZ automobile company; several bus builders and paper and pulp interests.Political Connections:
Deripaska is married to Polina Yumashev, the daughter of former President Boris Yeltsin’s chief of staff. Deripaska’s father-in-law in turn married Yeltsin’s daughter, which makes Deripaska a grandson of Yeltsin by marriage. In the current political climate of struggles between the Kremlin and oligarchs, Russian news media speculated in July 2003 that Deripaska would be “next in line” for investigations of his business practice by the Kremlin. One of Deripaska’s deputies at Russian Aluminum, the executive in charge of contacts with state agencies, is running in the December 2003 election for the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament) on the ticket of the center-right, ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.New Plays:
In October 2003, Deripaska bought an additional 25 percent stake of Russian Aluminum for an estimated $2 billion from fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich.Lifestyle:
For more than a year, Deripaska has flown by private jet to London every week to improve his English. Yet, unlike his fellow oligarchs, Deripaska says he has no interest in leaving Russia. In addition to his home in Moscow, Deripaska owns a country house in the wild southern region of Khakassia.

Notoriety:
In late 2000, a competitor filed a civil suit for racketeering against Deripaska and his company in a New York court, including charges of bribery, judicial corruption and armed force. The judge dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds. Deripaska was barred from travel to the United States and from entrance to the Davos economic summit in Switzerland. Deripaska has also become an outspoken opponent of Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization, clashing on the issue with U.S. ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow.

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/moscow/deripaska.html

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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

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