As is customary since this website was founded, I will be taking 1 month off to recharge the batteries. Over the years I have come to value this period and I hope you agree that it has served us well.
Many thanks for all your support through this year, especially those who have made financial contributions. A special thanks to our many Facebook (7900+) and Twitter (2500+) readers. Your contributions continue to be insightful and relevant.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and fantastic 2013!!
See you on 7 January 2013, the Lord willing.
Founder, Zambian Economist
Friday, 7 December 2012
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Monday, 3 December 2012
Sylvia Masebo MP (Tourism Minister) recently signalled that Government may soon abolish Visa fees for "tourists" visiting Zambia. The proposal will be tabled before Cabinet, following appeals by some Lodge owners who are complaining that visits to Zambia have been dwindling due to "prohibitive tourist visa fees currently set at US$50 per person". She has promised to consult widely before taking the matter to cabinet for possible consideration.
The proposal will need to be much clearer. Is it no visa fees or no visas period? Logic demands that she must mean the latter because having a visa regime that does not recover costs would be costly to maintain. Presumably part of the visa fees goings towards administration and processing costs. But then again, abolishing visas to Zambia will have other implications. There's the question of losing the "security benefits" of a Visa regime. How much consideration will be given to that?
The obvious question of course is the extent to which the visa costs impacts on demand for tourism. Where is the evidence on this? Just how elasticity is international tourism demand to Zambia? Are the Lodge owners really correct that a US$50 waive will boost demand? It seems to me that what is important is having a common SADC Schengen system that is underpinned by a clear software system. Where individuals can be tracked across borders but would pretty much move freely.
This of course is not the first time these ideas have been proposed.
Sunday, 2 December 2012
The much talked about new documentary of the plunder of Zambia copper by multinationals is available on You Tube. Two things struck me. First, how pivotal the death of Mwanawasa was for the mining companies. If Levy had not died, the windfall tax would never have been reversed and Zambia would be a better country for it. Rupiah Banda was a perfect present for the mining companies. Secondly, I was struck by how we still do not have a public inquiry into the mining privatisation process. Surely that is the mother of all inquiries we need! Everything else pales in comparison!
Please share he video around.