An official of the Zambian Development Agency, Obby Banda, has invited Botswana investors to come to his country and take advantage of business opportunities that abound there. Banda identified five sectors that offer such opportunity: tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and energy.
In the energy sector, Zambia – which is one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, requires efficient supply as there is increasing demand, especially from mines.
“The government wants to both invest as well as attract private sector investment,” Banda said.With vast waterfalls, lakes and rivers, one of the largest concentrations of bird species in the world, a rich cultural heritage, several monuments spread across the country and one of the seven wonders of the world – Victoria Falls, Zambia’s tourism sector has a lot of untapped potential. Part of unlocking such potential would require the development of essential infrastructure.
Much like Botswana, Zambia has a narrow manufacturing base which situation provides “lots of opportunities” especially in the mining where most of the inputs come from South Africa.
While the country has basic reliable infrastructure in terms of road networks, the country recently embarked on the “Link Zambia 8,000” project (Accelerated National Roads Construction Programme) aimed at rehabilitating and constructing 8000 kilometres of high quality single and dual lane roads throughout the country. The aim is to construct an efficient road network and international highways linking Zambia to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.
The Zambian government proposes that the private sector should consider undertaking a large portion of the 8000 Road Project which is expected to last at least five years and is estimated to cost between $5 and $6 billion. Additionally, Banda said that the government wants to develop inland ports and logistics centres as well as a 2500-kilometre railway lines.“The government can only do so much and is inviting the private sector to carry out some of the work,” Banda said.
Zambia has 27 million hectares of arable land and only 9 million hectares are under cultivation. Unlike Botswana where there is serious water shortage, Zambia has vast water resources. According to Banda, 40 percent of the water in the SADC region is in that country. The government wants to encourage investment of large-scale and commercial farmers.ZDA’s support to investors includes helping them look for business partners, arranging meetings with government officials, consulting further on incentive benefits and providing information on market and industries.