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Monday, 7 September 2009

Lumwana's "social responsibility"

In an ideal world, government would tax the mineral resources sufficiently within the broader framework set out under A Human Approach to the Mining Debate. But as government policy is currently not in pursuit of the suggested ideal, "corporate responsibility" initiatives like the one being undertaken by Lumwana to the tune of K4bn becomes local people's only hope of gleaning something from foreign investment.

The flip side is that such initiatives are essentially "bribes" to keep local people quiet. Firms do not engage in "social responsibility", they practice "shareholder responsibility". The K4bn should therefore be rightly seen as a small price that Lumwana has decided to pay the Solwezi people lest they become agitated at the lack of development in the area and demand the Government to do more to tax the mine (which would be bad news for the shareholders).


  1. A legitimate deal whereby government receives a globally competitive rate of revenue from the mineral wealth exploitation is the demand by the people of Zambia.
    Zambians have waited for long to receive a proportionate rate as opposed to beggar rates when we are the owners of the mineral wealth.
    Nawakwi has lamented the fact that the IMF duped up into selling our mines cheaply, on the pretext that copper prices were never going to pick at all soon and ten year down the line we see a different story.

    Forward planning leaders and not myopic 5 year term get rich leaders are needed, We should demand what we deserve and re-invest our money into our socio economic infrastructure so that we get our pride back.

    We need a big philosophy but we do have it until we selfishly engage in self satisfaction forgetting Zambians need the right values and norms for leadership development.

    Come great leadership, transparency and democracy and out corrupt regimes and 1st Republic approaches, Zambian will not be dwarfed again.( a lot of it my opinion)

  2. Lumwana at least does appear to be intent on fulfilling the "social responsibility" part of their charter in good faith, as evidenced by their engagement of Food and Trees for Zambia (FTZ) as project managers for agricultural outreach projects. The FTZ position on smallholder farm development is very much in line with the general run of best practices we have long discussed in the past.

    “As would be observed from historical trends, agriculture is a sustainable non-mining business that will survive even if the mine is closed. The company therefore intends to facilitate agricultural development in the three chiefdoms of Mukumbi, Matebo and Mumena anchored in sustainable farming such as the use of permacultuire ideals of farming,”

    As Cho indicates, it is far from being enough compensation for exploitation of the mineral wealth, but if "social responsibility" is part of the little the nation is entitled to under these deals, then lets make sure that it is truly done responsibly!

  3. Yakima,

    I suppose its a "catch 22".

    The more Lumwana does social responsibility "responsibly" the more govt may act "irresponsibly".

    Its similar to the Dambisa Moyo argument against aid...

    Except "social responsibility" is a direct bribe, while aid is just an act of kindness.


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