By John Chola
Zambia’s Acting High Commissioner to India Mrs. Deliwe Mumbi has implored Indian investors to take advantage of Zambian’s favourable business environment and the readily-available regional market by setting up industries in the country.
Speaking on Friday during a meeting with a delegation from the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Business (ICIB), Mrs. Mumbi said Zambia was conducive for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) as its land-liked status provides a ready market for goods and services.
She said investing in Zambia also gave Indian companies a comparative advantage of penetrating regional trading blocs such at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in which Zambia is a strong participant.
First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambia High Commission in New Delhi, India, Bennie Mundando says Mrs Mumbi tipped the Indian investors that Zambia was eager to see more local companies partnering with them so that they can actively participate in the economic emancipation of their country.
“We are land-linked and surrounded by eight countries and so, whatever you set up, you have a readily-available market and our President has been instrumental in increasing and improving connectivity. We now have the Lobito Corridor through Angola which offers the shortest route to the port.
“Additionally, we are also a very strong member of COMESA. This gives you an advantage to explore the African Continental Free Trade Area where Zambia has a strong participation. I am happy that you are also promoting small and medium enterprises because our population is youthful and this gives us an opportunity to address unemployment among the young people,” Mrs. Mumbi said.
She has also noted that Zambia’s tourism sector offers a lot of investment opportunities which Indian companies, in collaboration with the locals, can exploit.
“As we diversify our economy, tourism is one key area we feel has a lot to offer apart from the safaris and the famous Victoria Falls,” she said.
And ICIB President Manpreet Singh says the Chamber had taken a different approach to Africa by setting up investments within countries where they produce goods locally and export to other countries, including India as opposed to always exporting finished products to Africa.
Mr. Singh says the Chamber was particularly interested in bringing investment to Zambia because of the conducive business environment currently prevailing in the country.
Mr. Sigh noted that by the end of this year, a delegation of Indian companies under the Chamber will travel to Zambia for further engagement with relevant authorities.
“Our focus is working with Africa and we want to work with Zambia in particular by ensuring that Indian companies invest in Zambia and the Zambian companies also seize the opportunities in India by forming partnerships with Indian companies because we understand that there is huge potential in Zambia which can benefit the two countries.