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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Investment Mirage?

"As you may be aware, Zambia has a housing deficit of nearly 1.4 million units and the interest by our colleagues to invest in Southern Province and Choma in particular is most welcome... They have capacity to mobilise US$10 billion of investment in various projects in Southern Province..."
- Chileshe Mulenga 
(Southern Province Permanent Secretary)

A claim earlier this month by Mr Mulenga. Apparently some Indian investors are alleged to be interested in investing in Southern Province with around US$10 billion. They are interested in real estate, agriculture, mining, steel works and putting up a cement plant. We are told they have already engaged the Choma Municipal Council on the possibility of setting up a shopping mall in the new provincial capital of Southern Province.

One hopes this is a genuine case of 'from India with love'. But the story stirred memories of a famous Russian mirage. During the Banda administration Zambian newspapers went crazy with reports of three Russian metals companies who were allegedly going to invest $2 billion in Zambia. Later after some easy digging by bloggers, it was discovered that our Russian friends were used to making grand claims that never materialised. They were not even good enough to be called infestors, much more like impostors. One hopes Mr Mulenga has not fallen prey to an Indian mirage. Or worse he has lost his stability as public servant and is now just politicking to help sway bye-election results.

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