By JOHN CHOLA
The Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (LSMFEZ) has recorded US$ 1.5 billion in approved investments from 101 companies, potentially creating 32,000 jobs.
LSMFEZ has told Solwezi Today that the amount represents commitments by investors who have paid for the land, those who are already operational as well as those at the construction stage.
LSMFEZ Manager for Public Relations and Marketing Alice Schultz says out of the total of 101 offers made from inception, this year alone has seen about 16 land offers being approved. “From inception to date the Zone has attracted a total of US$ 1.5 billion in investment. This means that from 2021 about US$1.0 billion has been added. The results point to an over-achievement on the Zone’s 2021-2025 Corporate Strategic Plan which aimed to double the levels of investments to US$ 1 billion over the next five years.”
Of the approved companies, 22 are operational, 28 are constructing and the other 51 are at different levels of obtaining sector approvals and financing to commence their projects. “We expect about six companies to commence operations between now and March 2024,” adds Schultz.
Currently, about 12, 558 employees trek to the zone for work at the operating investors with another 3000 workers at various construction sites. It is expected that by the end of the year, the number of permanent employees will increase to about 15,700.
“The investor uptake has exceeded the expectations of the planned targets. In the last 30 months, the Zones investment portfolio has grown by 84 investors. Currently, the industrial land quota has also been exhausted and the focus areas for the next five years are to fill up residential, research and development, institutional and commercial land,” Schultz said.
The MFEZ Limited further says its US$ 25 Million Lusanje Power Limited has reached an advanced stage and satisfactorily concluded its feasibility studies in the second quarter of 2023.
The company says by the fourth quarter of this year the project should begin construction as it is currently obtaining various permits including a construction permit from the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).
Three years ago, MFEZ Limited partnered with Serenje (Pty) Limited, a South African company with vast experience in solar power energy to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV).
Lusanje is a renewable energy company that uses various technologies and strategies to deliver energy and storage solutions.
Schultz said that the SPV is expected to generate 25MW of solar power and have an energy storage facility onsite, “This SPV will design, construct, implement and manage the resulting energy-providing facility deemed Lusanje Power Limited to be located within the Lusaka South MFEZ. The agreement is in effect with an initial investment of US$25 million and is expected to contribute to the LSMFEZ investments portfolio for a minimum period of 25 years.”