DISTINQUISHED INVITED GUESTS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
Good afternoon. It is said, If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail’. It is an old adage but, I feel, a particularly adept one in light of today’s discussions on investment and specifically, investment in our country Zambia.
I wish to welcome you ladies and gentleman. It is indeed my pleasure to be here today to talk to you about investment opportunities that exist in Zambia.
To begin with, I want to thank UBS and in particular Ms Angela Mwanza who worked very hard to make this meeting happen and also our hosts, LOEWS REGENCY HOTEL for enabling us to meet here.
I am accompanied by ministers and officials from my government who will be able to answer questions about Zambia.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Rupiah Bwezani Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia. I took office as the fourth president of Zambia in November 2008.
I was born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and I studied in South Africa and Ethiopia before attaining my bachelor’s degree at Lund University, Sweden and my post-graduate diploma from Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.
During my political career, I have been many things including Ambassador to Egypt and the United States of America among others. I recite my formative years to you, not to give you the first few lines of my C.V., but so that you may understand my disparate influences and my belief that in order to have domestic success you must have increased integration in the global community.
Now let me talk about why we’re here today -Investment in Zambia. Why should anyone consider investing in Zambia?
To start with, let me give you a snapshot of Zambia in order to create A PICTURE for those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting.
Zambia, formally Northern Rhodesia, gained independence from British Rule in 1964. The country covers a total area of 750,000 sq kilometres, so we are a similar size to say Chile or the State of Texas. Zambia is a landlocked country which shares its borders with  countries.
Of the total area, about 11.9 sq kilometres is water. We have a beautiful temperate tropical climate with both dry and rainy seaons and an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius for more than eight months of the year.
English is the official language and therefore most citizens speak English along with a local language.
The population is approximately 12 million people. There are nine provinces, each with its own unique investment potential.
The Provinces are: Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Southern & Western. Lusaka, the capital is the biggest city.
We have a high literacy rate of 81% with a commitment to grow that annually and to facilitate increased access to education for women.
We are home to an inordinate amount of birds and wildlife, including the Big 5 and we are privileged to share one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World – the Victoria Falls.
So why Zambia?
We have political stability, never fought a war and have had smooth transition of power since independence. I am the fourth president of Zambia; all change has been through the ballot.
Zambia is a country of laws, which respects human rights including investors’ rights. We have an independent Judiciary and legislature.
Since the 1990s, we have pursued market orientated policies with the goal of increasing integration in the global community resulting in one of the fastest growing economies on the african Continent.
The economy is on track and has been expanding since 2002 with a sustained average GDP growth of 5.1%; coupled with annual reduction in inflation.
Government has been proactive in introducing policies designed to stimulate economic recovery, a stable macroeconomic climate along with a deliberate commitment to improve the investment climate for doing business and promoting exports. Our cost of doing business has reduced significantly while we have one of the most open economies on the Continent.
The 2009 World Bank’s Doing Business Report ranked Zambia among the very best African countries to do business with.
As a government, we continue to pursue market based economic and structural reforms in partnership with the private sector. We offer legal protection for investment through the Zambia Development agency (ZDA) Act.
We have cordial relations with our neighbours and have substantially reduced barriers to trade in order to support private sector growth and export competitiveness.
In addition, we have introduced a number of incentives to develop export industries and our market is buoyed by our membership in regional organisations, such as, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) along with a vibrant international export market to nations such as EU, China, India and USA.
Although landlocked, we have easy access to sea ports in Durban, South africa and Dar-es-Salam in tanzania.
Agriculture, including fish farming, which accounts for approx 12% of our GDP. To say we have abundant natural and human resources with quality land, water, minerals and forests is an understatement. Our water resources supply over 40% of all fresh water resources in the Southern African region.
Agriculture remains a priority sector for investment and we encourage a range of agriculture from floriculture, horticulture (including fruits such as mangoes, pineapples etc) palm oil production, livestock; sugar and ethanol production, crops such as: cassava or starch, cotton, coffee, tobacco, and paprika.
Mining represents 80% of our export earnings. We are the 2nd largest producer of copper in the world and account for 10% of the world reserves, we supply 20% of cobalt globally and yet we still have substantial untapped reserves.
In addition to copper and cobalt, we have a wealth of new mines and natural resources to invest in. We have, amongst other things, precious metals including gold, silver and selenium; gemstones such as emerald, the sought after tourmaline, aquamarine etc; uranium and other deposits, the platinoid group and agricultural minerals such as rock and igneous phosphates, which are suitable for conversion to fertiliser, peat and limestone. Each of the provinces holds a wealth of these reserves.
In terms of tourism, 33% of our total land mass is dedicated to national parks and game management areas. We have 19 national parks and 34 game management areas in total, and although we are one of the top tourist destinations in Africa, the majority of this land remains unexploited for tourism. We have a huge variety of birds and animals, including the big 5 and priority are given to the key parks for additional development.
We are home to the Mighty Zambezi river, the Victoria Falls, Kalambo Falls, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kariba amongst others and we have over 7000 heritage and historical sites catalogued that remain unexploited for tourism and 6 internationally acclaimed traditional ceremonies.
Opportunities exist obviously in the hotel, lodges and safari operations arena along with transport tourism, such as: air charters, travel agencies, car hire, game ranching, sports and conference facilities.
Manufacturing remains a key area and a priority growth sector for the country yet it remains hugely unexploited. Our economy poses significant industrial potential and to this end, we are implementing support measures designed to aid manufacturing enterprises. Opportunities exist within this sector in a variety of products for both domestic use and export, such as: textiles, paper and paper products, machinery and its components, drinks and food processing and packaging, rubber and plastic products, transport and containers, ICT and furniture.
We have all the required vital elements in place to make this area work, such as: raw materials, labour force and a good banking and financial system.
There are great prospects within a variety of sectors such as, light industry, warehousing, local business manufacturing centres, specialised husbandry, value retail, shopping malls, residential estates, lifestyle and luxury centre and office blocks.
A huge opportunity resides in small scale manufacturing, including the aforementioned machinery components, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing and ICT equipment – we believe them all to be ‘the nuts and bolts of future successes’.
Investment opportunities exist for hydro-electrical power generation, supply and distribution due to our vast water resources and coal reserves yet investment in this sector has been slow and power generation currently does not meet demand. There is huge untapped potential within this sector. As a country we have a production capacity of 1,760 MW split between 1,672MW of hydro power and 88mw thermal power with an estimated 6000MW potential resource capacity in hydro power alone.
In addition to hydropower development, there is much scope for renewable energy development, in areas such as: biomass gasification, biogas production, ethanol, wind and solar energy and coal powered thermal plants in the Southern province. With the power deficit, major investment is wanted, needed and will be rewarded. Zambia is here. Where are you?
Finally, what incentives do you get as investors.
The Zambia Development Act of 2006 offers a wide range of incentives in the form of allowances, tax exemptions & concessions for companies that invest in priority sectors and within the parks. The Act provides investment thresholds that investors have to meet in order to qualify for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.
In conclusion, let me repeat that there is massive potential within Zambia for investment. Our key areas for development are agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacture, infrastructure development and energy.
There is also potential for partnership with the Government through the Private Public partnership.
I invite you to let us do so together
I thank you