President Lungu recently met FQM senior management officials as part of the tour of the open pit mine and copper smelter in Solwezi. He urged the mining company to partner with GRZ to “deliver local roads” and “light up Solwezi Airport” which is restricted to day flights due to inadequate infrastructure at the airport. President Lungu said, “we have to do 21kms of roads here in townships, come on board to help improve roads including the airport. Expand your corporate social responsibility to non-traditional areas. ..”
The call for the private sector to contribute towards investment in local roads and airport infrastructure is certainly welcome. Government is spending significant sums on the current roads programme through borrowing, and that does not even include “township roads”. Not only is the programme insufficient to upgrade all roads, it is also an extremely expensive and unsustainable undertaking to maintain some of the roads that are being upgraded. So one can see why President Lungu appears to be begging the mines to help.