Saturday, 31 July 2010
An interesting report on Chinese investment in Luanshya and the mixture of cynicism and hope that engulfs the urban dwellers (HT : Kafue)
Navigating its way over the remaining shreds of baize, the snooker ball hit the side of the table with a gentle thud. The table was majestic once, with its heavy, intricately carved legs that are now gathering dust.
"I'm sure it worked a long time ago, but it's no longer used," said Marion Malisawa, the young barman as he grabbed the ball and tossed it into a corner, where it came to rest in the remains of a rusty wire cage.
Years have passed since anyone played snooker at the Roan Antelope Horse and Pony Club in Luanshya, a town in Zambia's Copperbelt.
Friday, 30 July 2010
“The airline will from August 6, 2010 operate six flights weekly. The increased frequency is pegged to the increased demand on the route. It is also a deliberate effort by the airline to offer customers flexibility and convenient connections"
More secret loans to Angola. The Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos announced earlier this month that that China's Eximbank has agreed to provide new funding for the programme of "national reconstruction". More detail via Angola Press.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
According to this map Zambia is worse than Nigeria in terms of democracy. Also worse than Mozambique. One has to check the underlying data but I think the reason for this poor score may be press freedom. Zambia is doing quite poorly in this area and it is something that needs to be addressed urgently. It does not benefit anyone for a government to muzzle the press and use national papers as instruments of propaganda (and indirectly oppression as we saw in Mufumbwe where the national papers failed to highlight the violence). We need to sell the Daily Mail & Times of Zambia. That is the privatisation we need.
A recent UNICEF report on Children Accused of Witchcraft. Also via IRIN.
An interesting interview with Breeze FM founder and CEO Mike Daka.
A use reference of popular economics books via The Enlightened Economist
India unveils the $35 laptop with the eye on the global market.
This year marks 20 years of MMD's existence.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
A response to the National Constitutional Conference on the new Draft Constitution. This one from the Zambia Research Foundation led by Dr Mbita Chitala. Please keep copying us in to help you keep a public record of your response (firstname.lastname@example.org) :
Submission to the NCC on the Draft Constitution of Zambia
Another response to the National Constitutional Conference on the new Draft Constitution. Please keep copying us in to help you keep a public record of your response (email@example.com) :
Response to NCC Draft Constitution (Kennedy Munyandi)
The Democratic Republic of Congo is studying a proposal to provide land to China to grow large amounts of palm for oil production in the vast central African country. Details of the plan are scarce but this appears to be part of general effort by China to secure greater share of arable land around the world as Africa's land supply become more attractive to wealthier resource-hungry nations. More detail via Reuters.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Ms. Margaret Chimanse communications spokeswoman of Zambia Development Agency said the possible sale of Ndola Lime, Zambia’sleading producer of the solvent used in the manufacture of cement and used chiefly by the mines in the Southern African country was not immediate as the company was sourcing for finance to rehabilitate the plant by among other works, replace the old kiln and the hydrator. The funding is coming from DBSA and Afri Exim Bank.
She said that the other companies being considered for options for private sector participation by the government included Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, Mulobezi Railway, Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority and Zambia National Building Society. She added that the government was in the process of examining the business model for the power utility, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation, known as ZESCO and makes it viable.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Those too eager for the answer can find it here. A more detailed explanation on Reflections on Corruption."And when it comes to Belonging or joining of political parties, this is another area marred with nepotism, tribalism, popularism and corruption. At the end of the day it all translates into politics of benefits, if it benefits you and your close relations, why worry about the common good?"- Matthews Chisanga
(via Zambian Watchdog)
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Another update on the quest to boost port capacity at Namibia's Walvis Bay. Walvis Bay Corridor Group reported this week that Namibia plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next decade in transport routes linking southern Africa with its Walvis Bay port to give mineral producers in the region a viable export route. Coal producers in South Africa, including Anglo American, Exxaro and Optimum Coal, have been unable to ship all of their coal destined for exports due to constraints on the rail lines leading to the country's port at Richards Bay. Similarly, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also been encountering delays at the borders when shipping minerals out of Tanzania's Dar es Salaam port. The expansion is seen by regional players as quite key part of the North South Project.
The quest for port capacity
The quest for port capacity, 2nd Edition
The quest for port capacity, 3rd Edition
The quest for port capacity, 4th Edition
Saturday, 24 July 2010
“These are empty political hallucinations”George Mpombo's opinion of Kaingu's suggestion that Zambians would not want elections if only they realised how marvellous President Banda is.
“The fact that now Chiluba is even campaigning for a councillor shows that he is no more Chiluba”Michael Sata on media reports that Chiluba was on the campaign trail for a ward council by-election in Kitwe.
“The pact does not have a common manifesto or political agenda”Peter Machungwa pointing the finger to what he sees as the source of the alleged difficulties facing the UPND-PF pact.
“We shall build schools, hospitals, roads and we shall explore for oil and minerals”Vice President Kunda promising the earth and all that is in it to people in Luena.
Friday, 23 July 2010
This week I turned my attention to something totally different - The Last Christian by David Gregory. Although I do usually read fiction, I have never actually read a science fiction book - until now. Set in 2088, this book imagines a world where many diseases have been eradicated, Africa has made progress and across the globe life expectancy has drastically improved with life at 120 years expected. It is at this point in history that a young American lady Abigail Caldwell emerges from the interior jungle of Papua New Guinea (cut off from the outside world since birth) after her village was mysterious wiped and heads to America to find that the America that her parents talked about has dramatically changed - and on the verge of something catastrophic. It is a riveting book, with many twists and turns. A wonderful book with a positive message. Strongly recommended.
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 24 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 26 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 23 weeks
"It’s not a condition that you should build a road; it’s voluntary for you to do so. If Lumwana wants to do it, let them build but that is the responsibility of the government. There is division on who should do what and who should do what. Infrastructure development is up to the central government to do that"
For weeks people on both sides of the Atlantic have been speculating over who would lose his job first because of the BP spill — Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, or Tony Hayward, the oil company’s chief executive. Given last week’s initial progress in capping the well, I won’t try to name a favorite in that race. But I would like to suggest a third, inanimate culprit: the cult of corporate social responsibility.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Zambia is apparently seeking US $7 billion to boost the energy sector and provide electricity to meet demand from the mines. Its not clear where GRZ will get the money from. Zambia's external debt spiked up over recent external borrowing by ZESCO.
A new World Bank report assesses how open countries are to foreign direct investment. The report reveals what we already know : Zambia is very open - more open than any country in Europe, the USA or China. Infact it appears that all poor countries are very open!
An interesting piece in the Daily Nation over the housing woes of former presidents. Former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings has joined Botswana's ex-president Festus Mogae who has publicly expressed his frustrations about the sorry state of his retirement home and office.
WiFi networks are unfurling across SA's towns and cities, thanks to advances in wireless technology and the relatively low cost of the equipment needed to set up or become part of a wireless network, Wugs - or Wireless User Groups.
Swaziland's judiciary is concerned by an absence of detention facilities for children, which forces them to share jail cells with adult criminals. This opens the potential for sexual abuse in a country with the highest HIV / AIDs infection rate in the world.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Warrior Princess Get ready, Get Ready... Zambia going crazy for Warrior Princess. Join His Royal Highness Chief Litata, Dr Manassah Phiri at the official Zambian launch, 18 August - stay tuned for details. Warrior Princess available at Planet books shop at Arcades in Lusaka and Book seller at Manda Hill Mall in Lusaka. The response is overwhelming. I'll be appearing on Kwacha Good Morning Zambia this Saturday. It's great to be home.
Mulambwa Ward Councillor Mwenda Lishebo (MMD) has allegedly been suspended from Mongu Municipal Council for challenging area Member of Parliament Joseph Mulyata (MMD) over the diversion of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) set aside for emergency works. On March 23, 2010 Lishebo wrote a letter to Mulyata where he stated that the people in his ward would stop at nothing in insisting on the immediate return of the K100 million that was allocated to Mulambwa Ward in accordance with CDF guidelines. More detail via The Post.
Related Posts :
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
"We have asked for a special audit to be done on the mining sector and if we find someone cheating, we will deal with that...Cheating is dealt with by punishing offenders, but you cannot deal with cheating by increasing tax rates, you can't....We need a strong mining sector to help us diversify the economy"
Sunday, 18 July 2010
"But as a policy, privatisation [in Zambia] is a success. It brought efficiency and predictability to the economy. Money that was spent on subsidies and government subventions can now be spent properly elsewhere. The mining sector has experienced exponential growth. The temporary losses have been made up by new employers in the economy."
"It [privatisation] is led by powerful business interests connected to government who treat enterprises and assets lined up for privatisation as goods fallen from the back of a delivery truck. There is a lot of corruption".
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Margot Wallström, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict suggests that there is almost total impunity for rape in Congo. She reckons the "one statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate".
A small Namibian step for people living with HIV. The country recently removed travel restrictions for people living with the HIV virus to align the country's laws with international public health standards. 51 countries, territories, and areas remain with restrictions.
The internet has been buzzing with stories of the custody battle between a British father and a Zambian mother. In the latest twist (which may not be "latest" by the time you read this), the Zambian mother Ms Nyendwa tells her side of the story to The Times.
A statistical sampling adjustment sees Mozambique's HIV prevalence "drop" from 16% in 2008 to 11.5% in 2010. The Health Minister is quick to remind people not get excited - "What has changed is not the number of people carrying HIV, but the way the data are collected". All clear then.
A wonderful report by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe on the sleeping giant that is Luapula: "I can say that the natives of Luapula Province will, one day, have to answer before the Creator for allowing the province to be so poor and desperate despite its vast natural resources endowment". I couldn't agree more.
Friday, 16 July 2010
The education system will only improve if the Constitution promises the people it is written for in stone that the nation will provide adequate tools for the very best of edification. I urge the Constitution to include a national library that will collect books, education and historical materials for all Zambians. The national library will therefore be the epicentre of academic excellence. It will allow scholars to attend and read and will loan reading materials to any Zambian around the country. All developed countries have this central reservoir of knowledge that facilitates the education of its people.
The call for a degree clause is in my opinion not correct. The reasons are that Zambia has an extremely small educated population. Therefore to ask leaders of the future to have degree qualifications while the government does not provide adequate education for the majority is not only being too elitist but very undemocratic and against human rights. In a democratic society, this should not be part of a Constitution and should be re-assessed and revoked from the document. At current numbers of educated Zambians, I will suggest that leaders must be able to read and write plus have a minimum of secondary education. Many degree holders reject politics and do not want to be associated with back knifing. Therefore the education clause should be deleted from the draft. Vision, charisma, good governance are perhaps more important than a degree qualification. If the President has a degree by default that is fine. If not, it shouldn’t become a hindrance for one to be a good and honest President.
Minister of Local Government and Housing Eustarckio Kazonga said Government is seeking a comprehensive forensic audit to trace the money and the culprits involved in the alleged scam. Dr Kazonga said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that Government is concerned and disappointed with people that are misapplying public funds, adding that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that the culprits are punished.
He said police and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have moved to the LCC to investigate the matter. “We have instituted investigations to establish how the K1.7 billion went missing at the LCC, these are funds that were meant for service delivery but now, people are misusing the funds. These people are frustrating Government efforts in the delivery of quality and improved service to the people,” Dr Kazonga said.
Dr Kazonga said once investigations are concluded, Government will act in accordance with the recommendations that the investigative agencies will come up with. He said Government is concerned with the missing funds and that it wants an account of how the local authority will recover the money that was misapplied.
Dr Kazonga said Government has set up financial regulations to ensure that all local authorities spend money on service provision and less on personal emoluments. “We have just concluded our internal audit and what I can confirm now is that K1.7 billion has been misused. We have asked the Anti-Corruption Commission and police to move in and investigate the matter because we suspect more funds have been stolen,” he said.
Yes. According to Sam Mulafulafu (Director, Caritas Zambia) :
Mr Mulafulafu's underlying sequential logic is as follows:The experience of an alliance that presents one presidential candidate but competes among themselves at Parliamentary and local government levels has been confusing to the electorate even in situations where constituencies and wards are shared among the cooperating political parties. With the low literacy levels among our voters, it sounds funny to the electorate to be told by a campaigning parliamentary or council candidate that in the parliamentary or local government vote (which ever the case may be), vote for me but for the president, vote for candidate so and so from another party. It really does not make sense to an average voter. In fact, some candidates won’t even make an effort to campaign for the chosen presidential candidate if that candidate is not from their party. This must be a learning point for the UPND/PF pact; to convince the electorate that they are a two in one party may be a daunting task.
i) To understand and be able to vote for a coalition government you need to be literate.If (i) or (ii) is wrong then (iii) is bound to be wrong.
ii) Zambians have low literacy levels.
iii) Therefore UPND-PF pact is facing a very challenging or near impossible task .
ARTICLE 6: I believe for Zambia to move on, the National Anthem and the Court of Arms must be changed for the following reasons:
1. The National Anthem music composed by a South African, if I am correct, cannot be truly used as a Zambian theme since South Africa is now claiming it. I urge the Constitution to direct the Zambian people to change the National Anthem music so that our own can be composed. We have many able Zambians who can write music and let us create a competition that will result in our own Anthem. It sounds ridiculous when the two Presidents meet. Zambia despite being independent longer than South Africa, the world thinks it is a satellite region of South Africa, especially when the anthem is played in instrumental without lyrics.
2. The Court of Arms are too colonial. They are not allowing us to break freely from colonialism and must be changed. The man in the shorts depicts the very reason why Zambia is not growing after more than 46 years of independence. Let him wear trousers at least or change it to something positive for the nation. This is an opportunity for us to do it.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
An excellent editorial from the Business Post on Zambia's broken mining policy which continues to see mining companies emerging as a negative contributor to Zambia Revenue Authority through huge tax rebates and their failure to pay existing obligations :
Zambia has over the years been a recipient of substantial foreign investments especially in the mining sector. This has been necessitated by the privatisation of the mines a couple of years ago by Frederick Chiluba’s government. It cannot be denied that since then, mining has been one of the most favoured sectors by the government in Zambia.
Placing the mines in private hands meant that any income to the state will not directly be from sales and profits from the mines, but rather from any taxes that can be levied on the companies – in the form of income tax for employees, VAT paid on services purchased by the mines, border taxes paid on imports and exports, corporate taxes on profits, and mineral royalties on sales of copper – although these are paid just by a few mining companies.
Luapula Base Metals Limited and Genesis Group of Companies recently announced that they have invested US $3m in developing three manganese mines in Luapula with an annual output of 60,000 tonnes. Their current output is around 4,000 tonnes per month of manganese was expecting to increase this to 5,000 after acquiring new machinery. More detail via The Post.
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
In a piece that again shames Zambia's leaders, Collier brings together three key challenges facing all natural resource nations : how to open up the vast resources for exploration; developing appropriate fiscal regimes; and, managing the resource boom. How is this to happen? According to Collier: "there is no substitute for the hard task of building a critical mass of informed citizens, society by society". In short depends on you :
Why natural resources should help end poverty, Paul Collier, New Statesman, Commentary:
Natural assets can be hugely valuable for the poorest countries. In Afghanistan, the Americans have used new aerial prospecting technology to scour the country for natural resources. So far they have found $1trn's worth. Properly used, this would be enough money to transform Afghanistan into a land of prosperity. It could finance the security, schools and infrastructure that are the foundations from which ordinary people can earn a decent living.
But natural resources can also generate huge liabilities. The distinctive feature of BP's catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is not its physical scale - over the years, the Niger Delta has been similarly wrecked - but that, for the first time, the environmental costs of extraction have occurred within a jurisdiction where the perpetrator has legal liability for them. And environmental costs are a pinprick compared to the social costs that the struggle for control of natural assets can run up if it turns violent. Instead of attaining prosperity, Afghanistan could find itself repeating the history of Sierra Leone. Its $1trn of natural assets could merely morph the violence, turning it from being driven by a warped ideology into the probably more secure motivation of raw greed.
Monday, 12 July 2010
Senior Chief Mwamba is my favourite Zambian thinker. An intellectual giant who is able to step back into our history, tie the knots and offer some fresh perspectives on the challenges facing our country. In a recent piece he reflects on "a nation without a vision" (previous reflections from His Royal Highness on House of Chiefs) :
A vision stands for ‘intelligent ability to foresee the future; an insight to imagine the future; Doorway to the future; determines destiny and marks and distinguishes intellectual capacities of different people. And this was why King Solomon declared: 'Where there is no vision, people perish.'
Chairman Mao related to the vision of the will as all-powerful, even to the extent that (in Mao's own words) 'the subjective creates the objective.' That is, man's capacity for both undergoing change and changing his environment is unlimited once he makes the decision for change the entire universe can bend to his will. But again, the controlling image is the sense of revolutionary immortality that confers these vaulting capacities upon the mind. And during the Great Leap, Chairman Mao declared that there was no poor soil but poor thoughts.
According to the above description by Hon Musokotwane the actual net value paid for ZAMTEL is $106.6m. That is $42.6m to the exchequer plus the $64m which was given to GRZ by LAP on condition that GRZ invests it back into ZAMTEL. In theory we can say that government bought the 25% shares using the $64m. But then why not just be honest with the public and say that 100% shares were sold for $106.6m and then government bought 25% shares?“We are all aware that LAP Green will pay $257 million for the 75 per cent shares they now hold in Zamtel. And this money will be broken down as follows: $117.7 million will go towards employee benefits and liabilities; $64 million will be injected into the company; $32.7 million will be used to settle external Zamtel liabilities, while $42.6 million will come to the treasury.”
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Today nearly a year ago American President Obama delivered this speech (thanks RS - for the email remainder). These quotes are still worth pondering on :
In short we have the Africa we deserve, but it does not have to be that way, and we can be hopeful that the brave among us can bring the change we need. That change must come from the bottom up and must encompass an institutional revolution."We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to Africans. I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. I have the blood of Africa within me, and my family's own story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story".
"Across Africa, we have seen countless examples of people taking control of their destiny, and making change from the bottom up. We saw it in Kenya, where civil society and business came together to help stop post-election violence. We saw it in South Africa, where over three quarters of the country voted in the recent election – the fourth since the end of Apartheid. We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person's vote is their sacred right".
"Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans, and not with those who use coups or change Constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions".
Saturday, 10 July 2010
"You should read this newspaper in the opposite. When they say president Chiluba was jeered, it means he was cheered. It is an upside down newspaper"
"Simbao is being a responsible Zambian because the entire government is not responsible".Hon Douglas Syakalima MP on Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao's SOS call to donors for assistance.
“Who has even seen a picture of Hakainde’s wife in the newspaper or even a picture of him playing with his children? Why is he hiding his wife? Nimwenye?"President Banda again, this time widening his insults to include Mrs Hichilema and insulting our Indian population in the process.
“President Rupiah Banda is the real mambala. He was doing umambala when he was in Namboard”Hon Douglas Syakilima MP on President Banda's recent attacks on the UNPD leadership.
"We reject this corrupt adoption process. Ifwe uyu muntu batupela tatwamumonapo ala ifwe twamukana"Wilfred Mwanza (Chifubu MMD) on the chosen MMD candidate allegedly imposed from the top.
A potentially interesting revelation by the Zambian Watchdog leaves more questions than answers :
Assuming the above information is accurate, which I very much doubt, this may suggest two potential scenarios at face value [at the very least the Watchdog could have produced the original document - but also see the technical addendum below].The government of Zambia has in the past few years paid more than K11 billion to citizens it has either tortured or wrongfully detained. Payment records seen by the Watchdog show that President Rupiah Bwezani Banda received the biggest chunk of the compensation amounting to more than K3 billion. The compensations were paid starting from the tenure of late president Levy Mwanawasa but people compensated include those whose rights were violated as far back as 1965 to people detained during the reign of Fredrick Chiluba
One list shows that 211 citizens were compensated a total of K11, 774, 071, 575.36 under the preservation of public security regulations. Among these is president Rupiah Banda who received eight (8) cheques on different dates but whose total amount is Three Billion, three hundred million and seven hundred and twelve thousand Zambian Kwacha. President Rupiah Banda was arrested during the ‘Zero option’ episode when Chiluba was president.
Scenario 1. The former President conspired to give his then deputy [Rupiah Banda] huge sums of compensation which has now been enforced by the latter as President. Under this scenario nothing wrong has been done by the current President except receiving what was rightly due, unless such payments have been inequitably distributed - not in award but in distribution of a limited pot. That is to say the President was only able to get a larger share because he is the President. A bit like how many Zambians are not able to get pensions rightly due to them, but others are able to because of "connections". In both instances there's nothing improper, but it is the "influence" that makes it more efficient for some.
Scenario 2. The other scenario is that the compensations are equitably distributed and the President simply happens to gain a larger sum because he suffered worse than the others. This is difficult to explain because there many others who aren't even awarded compensations. But assuming it is all legitimate and there are no institutional restraints, the President has done nothing wrong. The only question here is whether the President has acted morally sound. Is it morally acceptable that the President can accept such large competition for the wrongs he rightly suffered ages ago when such money could be better spent on other things the poorest? The answer of course, partly depends on whether that is a legitimate counter-factual! There's nothing to say if the money was not given to President Banda it would have been spent better on the poor.
My guess is that there's nothing improper here, but it would be interesting to see which of the two narratives emerge as the debate unfolds.
A technical addendum : It wont be lost on our more eagle eyed readers that the comparison provided by Zambian Watchdog appears to be in nominal Kwacha prices. To really get a handle on the appropriate shares we must account for both the erosion of money over time (inflation) and the pure time preference issues - people prefer money now than tomorrow (discounting). In short RB may have got the lowest share in real terms (ignoring discounting issues) - but it appears larger than others due to the lack of adjustment for inflationary effects.
Friday, 9 July 2010
This week I managed to finish one of the two books I am reading about the economics of international law: How International Law Works: A Rational Choice Theory by Andrew T Guzman. A well written book which seeks to provide a rational basis for why nations enter formal or informal international agreements despite the absence of an adequate enforcement mechanism. It comes down to what Guzman calls the three Rs - Reputation, Reciprocity and Retaliation. Although I found it quite repetitive at points, as many economists probably will, its very useful in terms of using real world examples. Quite a useful reference text to have on your shelf. It will particularly appeal to anyone with an interest in international relations.
The same cannot be said for the other book I picked up earlier this week - Money, Greed and God : Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem by Jay Richards. I was extremely disappointed with this book to such an extent that I put it down before I finished. My disappointment was for many reasons. The obvious one being that it is poorly written both in terms of economics (the elementary confusion between capitalism (an ideology) and market economics just being one of many), but also biblically poor - from an expository point of view. Really what we needed was a deeper and more serious interrogation of the debate. But I have read poorer books before and completed them. I think what was different about this one is that Jay Richards has written some very good stuff e.g. the co-authored Privileged Planet : How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery. I guess my expectations were too high. May be its because after reading this very poor book, I could not take another sub-par book. In which the hapless Mbeki ruined my read. We shall never know. But I will look out for Richard's next book.
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 23 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 27 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 25 weeks
EU Commissioner for Development is seeking a new aid strategy that has "value for money" as an overriding priority. Among the ideas is that aid to poor countries should be tailored more towards benefiting European firms.
IPS report on the changing face of politics in Malawa. The NGO Gender Coordination Network is pushing plans for its Malawi’s "50/50 campaign" to ensure that more women than ever before sit in local government seats after the November elections.
TAZARA recently launched the first phase of a program aimed at revamping operations in anticipation of increased copper production next year. The plan will initially try to boost wagon capacity; at least 28 wagons in Zambia have been earmarked for rehabilitation.
Campbell and Harwood have a new piece in Project Syndicate where they argue that the conventional wisdom that sub-Saharan Africa has moved beyond military coups may be wishful thinking. In the past two years, Africa has seen successful coups in Niger, Guinea, Madagascar, and Mauritania.
The Malawian government has come under fire for failing to adhere to the Malawi National Land Policy which has seen several foreigners getting land for other reasons and not investment. The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) recently expressed shock "at the rate at which foreigners in the country get land at the expense of the locals".
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Two premises contained above. The major premise - Zambia has a bumper harvest is accurate. The minor premise that this is due to white farmers from Zimbabwe can only be assessed by this FSRP resource. The evidence in that pack is pretty emphatic that the increases are across the board and small holders have contributed significantly. I can only imagine SW Radio forgot to visit the FSRP website.While farms that were once highly productive lie idle under the new ownership of ZANU-PF officials and cronies, Zimbabwe is in the process of negotiating a deal to import maize from neighboring Zambia. The tragic irony is that the crops being sought after were grown by white farmers who were illegally booted off their land in Zimbabwe. Many wound up in neighboring countries, which are now benefiting from their expertise.
Zambia used to import maize and other food items from Zimbabwe, but with the influx of some of Zimbabwe’s best farmers, they’ve once again produced a surplus maize crop. Zimbabwe on the other hand has recorded a deficit of 500,000 tonnes of the daily food staple this year.Chiredzi based farmer Gerry Whitehead described the whole situation as “disgusting”. He said: “Approximately 90% of these Zambian crops are coming from ex-Zimbabwean farmers who were forced off their land here.”
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
There has been a recent surge in MFEZs announcements across the country. This appears consistent with the Government policy of having "MFEZs in all districts".
The government last month announced that it has given a go ahead for the setting up of tax free zones in Nakonde, Mpulungu and Mbala .
Late last month we also learnt that the Government is in the process of creating an MFEZ in Mansa "to encourage local and foreign investment". As part of the package Chief Kasumawela (Ushi, Mansa) has sanctioned 3,600 hectares of land for development of the zone in Chembe area. Among the suggested facilities would include "a trade center, modern high schools, airport, hotels, lodges and light industries".
In the meantime the Lumwana Economic Zone is now up and running. According to Commerce Minister Felix Mutati the Lunwaba MFEZ will at full capacity create about 13,000 jobs and has already attracted an initial foreign investment of US$60 million, among them Hitachi. The Lumwana MD, Adama Wright, was quick to emphasise that "the complimentary investment that was being attracted into the MFEZ was not meant in any way to provide direct financial benefit to Lumwana Mining Company". No comment!
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Excerpts from a remarkable speech delivered on 19th November 2009, Hon Watson K. Lumba MP in Parliament when was welcomed as the newly elected Solwezi Member of Parliament. (HT: Salt and Light Zambia)."For as long as I can remember, it has become fashionable in our young country to accept that politics do not deliver sustainably and lack imagination; the notion that hard work doesn’t pay; the death of principled positions; the triumph of neoclassical economics which are less understood even by their proponents; and the politics of non-issues which are devoid of any discernable ideological position. We continue to waste time and resources on non-issues. Put crudely, it is the degrading view gaining ground in our nation that says “forget the ethics and morals, everything goes, the end justifies the means”; and also that “everything is up for sale at the right price”. In Solwezi, however, the concept of the highest bidder secures clearly failed. Politics on this argument becomes little more than theatre—a poorly staged public performance necessary to convince the electorate that the country is moving, or needs a new management".
"I believe that there remains a fundamental need for us as a people of Zambia to clearly define and articulate our national interests that transcend party affiliations. Under girding such national interests should be ethical and moral issues that include setting for ourselves to honor virtues of hard work, honest, trustworthiness and decency".
"Parties devoid of any ideological stand (and by ideology we mean a well thought-out political and economic system) will tend to react to issues; are caught unawares by the obvious and offer no solutions to the complex challenges of the 21st century. If Zambia must survive in this century, we need new thinking"
"We have allowed ourselves to assume mental dwarfism that refuses to think critically and beyond our narrow self interests. We are content to visit political Tuntembas translated as tea cants or prefabricated sheet corner stores when we can get more from political malls with their polished knowledge. To get back to that place requires leadership—leadership that the current government appears demonstrably incapable of providing. Our future challenge is to build across this nation a robust domestic constituency in support of Zambia's future international engagement, one that will not be neglected by inferiority complex".
Monday, 5 July 2010
Education Minister Dora Siliya recently announced that her Ministry are looking at "ways of dismantling a K630 billion debt the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University owe various creditors". UNZA owes K380 billion while the Copperbelt University owes K250 billion. A natural question arises how these two important institutions can run in such debts? One may right wonder, if the two universities can run into debt and they are supposed to be the fountains of knowledge, what hope is there for other institutions? I speculate that this is not surprising given the previously discussed UNZA disgrace. I now doubt whether higher education funding solutions would make any difference to our education system, though perhaps some may suggest that if people paid through their noses they would be more upfront in demanding better accountability.
Press Release No.10/260June 25, 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Superdeal Investment Limited, a Chinese firm, is set to establish a $2m manganese refinery kiln in Kabwe. According to the CEO Luobin Bin Luo the refinery is expected to create about 400 local jobs: "We have a huge investment in Zambia and our plans are to put up a large furnace besides the plant we have. This investment will not only create employment opportunities but also contribute to the revenue base of this country. We have already presented our investment plans to the Zambia Development Agency and our intention to construct a furnace right here in Kabwe which will boost our production...".
We have previously touched on the manganese question here, here and here.
Saturday, 3 July 2010
We need a new blog that focuses on Zambian books or books about Zambia. I know I would do it because I have a passion for Zambian books, but I have too many blogs already plus my wife now reads this blog via Facebook so she is monitoring how much time on Zambian Economist and House of Chiefs :)
The reason I mention this specific need is that I recently visisted the blog - ZED Books. Imagine my disappointment when I found out the title had nothing to do with Zambia!
So email this to your friends who read Zambian books or books about Zambia. Imagine at present even the papers don't have book sections? Is it any wonder Fotoaccount shows us that empty Lusaka library? We can start this with a dedicated blog! Who shall step up?
Zambia Diaspora Connect Chairman Musaba Chailunga recently attended a meeting between ZDC and the Government's Diaspora Desk in Lusaka. There they discussed a range of matters which are contained in the report below.
Zambia Diaspora submission to the Diaspora Desk
This week I turned my attention to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a month or so Architects of Poverty, by Moeletsi Mbeki. The brother of Former South African President Thabo Mbeki. I was extremely disappointed that I had wasted my money and time on this book. It is poorly framed, disjointed and pretty much repeats the mantra we have heard before - African leadership is poor, Mugabe is a mad dictator, colonialism destroyed Africa, the West are not helping and we need a new breed of leaders to sort it out. Oh, and let us empower the poor. Nothing new, totally nothing. Its fair to say, I bought it for a poor recommendation from someone on Twitter and plus the name MBEKI was in large letters. I know, I should know better.
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 21 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 29 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 26 weeks
Friday, 2 July 2010
I thought this weekend, I post a video that my wife loves watching and reminds me of my early childhood growing up listening to Bana KB in Nchelenge and when I do watch it, it very much reminds me of my mother in Ndola (my wife also grew in Ndola). But there's also another reason - there's something wonderful about how our songs stirs, anchors and expresses our quiet confident and joy in God in the midst of improbable challenges. I am always reminded that the human need goes beyond the physical - and in areas that truly matter (the spiritual state) our people are truly blessed. In the final analysis, we have a lot to thank God for.