Zambia Set to Impress and Welcome Investors

Zambia has seen foreign direct investment (FDI) increase significantly to well over $1bn in 2013 – up 31% over the previous year. The number of projects receiving capital investment from outside the country went up as well. Greenfield investment in telecommunications projects amounted to $300m last year while the financial services sectors attracted $100m of FDI. Slightly over 40% of capital inflows now come from African companies.

Minister Robert Sichinga of Commerce, Trade, and Industry aims to keep the momentum going as he heads a delegation to the United Nations-sponsored World Investment Forum taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, between October 13 and 16.

Last year, the government of Zambia unveiled several ambitious programmes to accelerate development and provide up to a million new jobs. Sizeable investments are needed across a range of sectors such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and construction.

“Given our plans, we must hurry to implement those strategies that will assist in the fight against poverty. We need to encourage investments in the identified sectors to achieve our objectives. Zambia is hungry for investment, wealth creation, and alleviation of poverty,” said Mr Sichinga on the eve of his trip to Geneva.

“In Geneva, Mr Sichinga is to showcase the investment opportunities in his country, particularly as they relate to sustainable development – the main theme of the forum.”

The country’s open capital markets and floating exchange rate regime have contributed to the diversification of its economy. Earlier this month, Mr Sichinga reported to parliament that in 2013 earnings from non-traditional exports have increased to $2.2bn and now account for fully 33% of outgoing trade as measured by value.

In Geneva, Mr Sichinga is to showcase the investment opportunities in his country, particularly as they relate to sustainable development – the main theme of the forum. The delegation includes representatives of the Zambia Development Agency. At the meeting in Geneva, Zambia will make a presentation on Challenges and Constraints of Promoting FDI.

The World Investment Forum provides a meeting place for government officials, investors, and development professionals from around the world. The forum is organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to discuss challenges, opportunities, and policy frameworks that encourage sustainable development.

The Zambia Development Agency comes to Geneva armed with dossiers on an impressive number of concrete projects that are available to investors. Tourism is one of the focus areas. The Zambian government has recently put both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives in place to encourage investment. A massive road rehabilitation project is underway as well to facilitate access to the country’s more remote tourist destinations. It is expected that for the first time Zambia will receive over a million visitors this year.

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