Zambia’s efforts to promote the consumption of local products is now getting the maximum campaign and recognition across the country.
Various stakeholders are now appreciating the fact the promotion and consumption of local products are good for the growth of the economy.
Granted, Zambia has been an import-dependent country for years but slowly this is diminishing as more people are beginning to understand the importance of appreciating local products.
Recently, President Edgar Lungu expressed happiness that more local products are being sold in shops and that more people are consuming the products.
“This is patriotism. It is also a clear indication that our ‘Proudly Zambian Campaign’ has taken root,” he said when he addressed the National Assembly on the progress made on the application of the national values and principles.
According to him, 33 companies have so far been certified to use the official “Proudly Zambia” logo, covering 500 product lines, adding that this is a step in the right direction and a mark of quality as well as increasing competitiveness of local products.
The benefits accruing to this national consciousness are evident in the increased consumption of what we produce, he added.
“This is not only creating a ready market for our local producers but also creating employment opportunities for more of our people, particularly the youth,” he said.
Indeed the need to promote the consumption of local products cannot be over-emphasized.
Last week, the government banned the importation of onions and potatoes from outside the country.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Songowayo Zyambo said there is no need to import the two products because the country had enough of them to meet national demand.
He said in a release that the decision was arrived at following consultations with various stakeholders.
Stakeholders have since supported the move as well as encouraged authorities to extend the ban to other products that can easily be produced locally.
Buy Zed, which promotes the buying of local products, has expressed delight at the move to restrict the importation of onions and potatoes.
Evans Ngoma, the founder of Buy Zed says the move will have a positive effect on many players, especially farmers who are now assured of a ready market.
He however said there is need for farmers to build their capacity in order to meet the demand.
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), a grouping of farmers, has also welcomed the move as this will promote local production of agricultural products.
“ZNFU is confident that producers are capable of expanding production because there are examples where this has happened such as wheat industry where import substitution has happened,” he said in a release.
He has since urged the ministry responsible for agriculture to be resolute on the policy and not to be swayed, adding that regulation of imported agricultural products should go beyond onions and potatoes.
According to him, the continued importation of certain agricultural products has a negative effect on the country’s economy.
The need to produce local products is not new in Zambia and has been a focus of discussion for many years although realization of the move has been slow.
In 2004, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry launched the “Proudly Zambian Campaign” which seeks to spur job creation and economic development through the promotion of production and consumption of high-quality Zambian products.
The campaign entails that products under it have an official logo as a mark of quality assurance and national pride.
The campaign recognises that consumers want to buy goods of high standard and quality hence all products under the campaign are subjected to a vetting process to ensure highest standard.
Indeed the appreciation of local products is now becoming a buzzword all over the country. Countries are now realizing the importance of promoting local products in spite of the globalization agenda and Zambia is no exception.
Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says Government has paid 40 million Dollars for electricity importation from South Africa.
Ms Siliya says 10 million Dollars was paid last week and a 30 million Dollars was transferred to Eskom on Wednesday this week.
She disclosed this during the Hot FM Hot seat programme on Thursday. Ms Siliya who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services however has not indicated when the power imports will start flowing into Zambia.
Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa announced on 23rd October, 2019 that the power imports will be in after 14 days.
Zambia has a power deficit of 700 megawatts which has resulted in 15 hour power load shedding management. And Ms. Siliya has revealed that government will give its position on the issue of the Lower Zambezi mining licence soon.
She says Government will soon give its position on the matter regarding the issuance of a mining licence in the lower Zambezi. Ms. Siliya says once internal consultations within Government are concluded, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Development will give the nation an update on the matter.
Ms. Siliya said Government wants to establish and understand the bone of contention and other processes that were undertaken prior to the issuance of the licence before a final decision is made.
She says the matter is receiving active attention and that Government has heard the cries of the citizens whose interests will always be top priority. Ms. Siliya said Government has keenly been following the debate and has taken note of the many concerns citizens and other stakeholders have raised on the matter.
- Lusaka Times
Zesco has announced that it will effect a 200 percent tariff hike with effect from October 1, 2019.
The increment according to Director of Strategy Patrick Mwila has been necessitated by the finalization of the importation of electricity from Eskom Of South Africa.
Addressing the media in Lusaka today, Mwila said that the tariff hike will vary for individual costs depending on spending brackets.
He said the importation of power from South Africa would mean available power in the country would increase by 300 megawatts.
The hike will only be for six months of the power importation aimed at mitigating load shedding following a decline in generation resulting into a deficit of 700 megawatts necessitated by low water levels.
And the current total power generated by both ZESCO and Independent Power Producers is around 1-thousand 5-hundred megawatts against a demand of 1-thousand 9-hundred megawatts during off peak and over 2-thousand 5-hundred megawatts during peak periods.
Credfit: Zambia Reports
Zambia has cut its 2019 economic growth forecast to around 2% from an initial projection of 4%, President Edgar Lungu said on Friday.
Lungu said in a state of the nation address in parliament that adverse weather conditions will negatively affect this year's economic growth.
Zambia’s mining ministry has asked Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to rescind its decision to close two shafts at its Nkana site.
Mopani announced the shaft closures on Thursday in a move that an opposition leader said had led to 1,400 job losses.
Mines Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda on Friday said he had written to Mopani to ask the company not to close the two shafts because it had not exhausted discussions with the government.
Chanda said the government had, among other suggestions, asked Mopani to hand over the running of the shafts to local contractors instead of closing them.
“We haven’t concluded talks with them,” Chanda told Reuters.
“Mopani can’t arbitrarily take a decision to shut the two shafts without the participation of the government.”
A Mopani spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.
The closure of the two uneconomic shafts had always been part of its plans, Mopani said on Thursday, adding that the move would allow it to channel funds towards completion of other expansion projects.
Tobacco companies are zeroing in on one of the last global markets still ripe for exploitation: the African continent.
Much of the tobacco leaf and some of the manufactured cigarettes produced on the continent are exported. These exports earn the foreign currency that’s attractive to the finance ministries of tobacco producing countries. But increasing amounts of the continent’s tobacco outputs remain in Africa, with tobacco companies taking advantage of countries with weak tobacco control measures and comparatively low consumption rates that they consider ripe for expansion.
While tobacco production is decreasing (slightly) in most of the rest of the world, it is increasing in Africa. In 2012 Africa accounted for just under 10% of all tobacco grown worldwide.
The major tobacco producing countries by tonnes grown in 2017 were (in order) Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Smoking rates in most African countries are still low by global comparisons. They are, however, rising in several sub-Sarahan nations.
Economic benefits exaggerated
We chose these countries because they represent different degrees of tobacco reliance and tobacco control, which allows us to make meaningful comparisons among them over time. Zambia and Malawi are major tobacco producers, whereas Kenya is not (though it has several concentrated areas of tobacco farming).
Zambia has ratified the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and has some tobacco control measures in place. Malawi has not ratified the Convention, has fewer tobacco control measures, and is more reliant on tobacco as a cash crop. Kenya has also ratified the Convention. But compared to the other two countries, it has much stronger tobacco control measures and is less economically dependent on tobacco.
There is, however, a common finding amongst all three countries. The economic importance of tobacco for government treasuries is often exaggerated while tobacco growing has failed to fulfil its promise of lifting farmers out of poverty. In fact, it’s often been the reverse. Many smallholder tobacco farmers have been losing money or making so little they remain deeply impoverished or deeply in debt.
Our ongoing research in Zambia recently drew further attention to another risk. When governments provide economic incentives to tobacco manufacturers as an economic development strategy, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. This is because the health and economic development costs of increased tobacco related diseases will far outstrip any benefits, including the creation of new jobs.
The effect of incentives
Zambia, like many African countries, wants to attract or stimulate both foreign and domestic investment to diversify its manufacturing base. In an article reporting earlier findings from our study we cautioned that it needed to exclude tobacco from its investment incentives.
The reasons for this were twofold. Firstly, this is something Zambia is actually obliged to do as a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Eleven years after Zambia ratified the Convention it has yet to implement all of its requirements in significant part by adopting and implementing corresponding legislation and regulation.
Secondly, we predicted that the government would be actively encouraging tobacco production if it provided incentives. This is exactly what’s happened. Two new cigarette manufacturing plants recently opened in a special ‘Multi-Facility Economic Zone’ on the edge of the capital Lusaka.
One is owned by British American Tobacco (BAT) Zambia and, according to our research participants, produces five million cigarettes a day. The company opened the plant to “localise its brands in Zambia”, with around 40% of its output destined for the domestic market.
Government officials said the fiscal incentives it offered BAT’s new plant were in line with the country’s development plan, praising the 72 new manufacturing jobs the plant created. BAT’s fiscal incentive, offered to all investors in the economic zone, was 0% tax for the first five years of operation.
Around the same time that BAT set up shop, a local Zambian tobacco company took similar advantage of the tax offering. It opened a second cigarette factory capable of producing 20 million cigarettes a day creating 100 new jobs.
The company behind the new plant described its efforts as “feeding the nation’s favourite habit” and noted the significant potential to grow the local market. To assist in that growth, it has 34 sales staff employed as “Foot Soldiers” to promote its product in places that motor vehicles can’t reach.
Many of the government officials with whom we met in late 2018 continue to claim that Zambians don’t smoke much and that most of the tobacco leaf (and now cigarettes) are simply exported elsewhere.
But an increasing number of Zambians do smoke . And that number is almost certain to rise with local cigarette manufacturing targeting local consumers. While female adult smoking remains in single digits, male adult current smoking is now greater than 25%. More troubling is that smoking among girls is now roughly equal to boys.
Zambia has since changed its investment policy and is no longer offering the 5 year tax free break. This was too late to prevent the new cigarette factories from taking advantage of the tax incentive. But it offers a cautionary tale to other African countries trying to attract investors to ensure tobacco is excluded from its offers.
Meanwhile Zambia, like many other countries around the world, finds itself caught between pro-tobacco development policies and efforts to implement tobacco control measures. The Zambian legislature is presently considering a new comprehensive tobacco control bill. If it becomes law, it will help to minimise the unhealthy consequences of its past investment policy, and to provide meaningful support for Zambians’ future well-being.
Ronald Labonte, Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of Ottawa; Fastone Goma, Associate Professor, University of Zambia; Jeffrey Drope, Professor in Residence of Global Health, Marquette University, and Raphael Lencucha, Associate professor, McGill University
Africa has the youngest population of any continent – 60% are under age 25. While this has evoked both hope and fear, it is clear that jobs are needed for the 12 million people entering the workforce every year.
Agriculture is best suited to provide a great many jobs as it can absorb much labour, and because prospering farms trigger employment opportunities in the rest of the economy. But agriculture is often unattractive for the youth.
To lure young people into farming, policymakers and development actors emphasise the need for modern technology, including agricultural mechanisation. But surprisingly little is known about the opinion of young people in rural areas. Few have asked them what farming and rural areas need to look like to be more attractive.
I conducted a study in Zambia and asked people in rural areas aged between 12 and 20 what would make farming attractive for them. I used two research methods to explore their aspirations and perceptions: interviews as well as drawing exercises.
The results show that young people find more positive aspects in agriculture than often assumed and that the attractiveness of farming doesn’t only hinge on modern technologies. While some technologies are needed, having diverse and sustainable farms, a healthy environment and an attractive rural life is equally important.
Most of the people interviewed for the study were proud of the fact that they came from farming families that owned land and worked close to the nature. Ruth (15) expanded on this and said:
We do not pay for maize, land, water and fruits such as mangoes. We have nutritious food.
The respondents also commented on the attractiveness of the rural space. Asked where they want to live in the future, rural or urban, 53% preferred rural areas, because of their freedom and social networks.
In contrast, urban life was often perceived as bad, characterised by road accidents, pollution, Satanism, thieves and drunkards. According to Talunsa (15) people are “poisoned by alcohol and fight”.
Many also found farming unattractive, citing drudgery and weather dependence as reasons. They said they would rather aim for jobs with a regular salary such as teachers. Lozi (16) said:
I want to work with the government. Then I’ll get paid monthly.
Around half of the respondents preferred a future in urban areas rather than in rural areas. These respondents were “pulled” away from rural areas because they were attracted by the perceived positive sides of urban areas. But they were also “pushed” away from rural areas which they associate with a lot of challenges. These included the high labour burden and risks associated with farming. This is what some of the respondents said about these “push” factors:
In the village, we always eat the same, beans and nshima, and we need to work hard.“ (Elina, 16)
In the village, you can be bewitched over small disputes and the fields are very small. I prefer to live in town.” (Jakob, 15).
It’s important to note that the decision to reside either in a rural or urban area was rarely perceived as a lifetime decision. Respondents highlighted that one could work in town after harvest or for some years after school to save some money before returning to the village.
Some of my friends want to go to town but others want to stay. Of the ones who went, many came back after some years. (Alik, 14)
I want to raise some money in town but then I want to move back to my village. I will bring a tractor with me and cultivate a lot of land. (Raimond, 17)
So what does farming need to look like to be attractive?
The young people provided some direction on what they thought would make rural spaces more attractive.
The most important factors were:
Modern technologies such as tractors and digital tools. But these shouldn’t be over emphasised. Low-tech solutions shouldn’t be neglected.
Non-material factors. Making agriculture attractive requires de-risking agriculture and promoting sustainable and diverse farms. These were clearly depicted in the drawings I’d asked the respondents to sketch of their ideal farm. The drawings typically showed highly diverse farms with trees, vegetables, fruits and animals.
Ensure healthy landscapes. Having a sustainable, pollution free environment was commonly mentioned as a key advantage of rural over urban life.
Rural areas must be developed in ways that go beyond just infrastructure. Social life and networks, which are still an asset in villages compared to cities, were also cited as important. This included networks of neighbours, relatives and friend and the communal celebration of traditions.
Policymakers often highlight the need for modern technologies – including information, communication and technology – when discussing rural development.
But the young respondents I spoke to emphasised more low-tech solutions such as increasing farm diversity, having water wells and using draught animals, which is already an advantage over manual labour.
This suggests that policymakers and development practitioners need to pay more attention to the actual aspirations of young people in rural areas to avoid well-intended but misguided policies. In addition, the findings suggest that there is a need for several policies to reflect several types of young people in rural areas.
Botswana and Zambia have signed the agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) meant to create one African market.
The country signed the agreement at the just-ended Africa Union Summit. Zambia also signed the AfCFTA at the same event. Botswana and Zambia were among the countries that had not signed the AfCFTA following its establishment on 21 March 2018 in Rwanda, Kigali.
The delay was largely attributed to negotiation on some of the protocols of the AfCFTA, as the countries wanted to consult stakeholders before appending. Briefing journalists upon his return from the just-ended AU Summit, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said he signed the agreement in the presence of African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki, and outgoing AU chairperson, Paul Kagame.
He said the agreement would give Batswana the opportunity to “benefit from inter-regional trade within the African continent, and greatly contribute to the growth and diversification of our country’s economy.
“We have received the documents so that we can rectify the agreement,” he said.
Masisi said Botswana recognises the importance of the agreement as one that will liberalise trade of both goods and services for all African countries. The AfCFTA aims to create a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product of US$2.5 trillion, across all AU member states.
The Continental Free Trade Agreement would provide Botswana access to the African market estimated at 1.6 billion people in 55 countries. This means a wider and increased market access for Botswana exports; among which are live animals, beef, salt, vaccines for veterinary medicine, minerals and leather products.
Reports indicate that the AfCFTA envisages the liberalisation of both trade in goods and services in the first phase of negotiations, and will extend to investment, competition policy and intellectual property in the second phase. The decision to establish the AfCFTA was taken during the eighteenth Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2012 when the Heads of State and Government decided to establish a Pan-Africa Continental Free Trade Area by 2017.
According to Zambia News and Information Services, Zambian President Edgar Lungu said the country would now work towards ratifying the AfCFTA.
Zambia is already in wide free trade areas through the 16-member SADC and the 21-member Comesa trading blocs. But in a statement issued by the first press secretary at the Zambian mission in Addis Ababa after the signing, Inutu Mwanza said.
“The AfCFTA will help resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
“It will also help to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.”
The bridge and one-stop-border-post facilities between Zambia and Botswana will enhance regional trade, integration and spur global competitiveness.
Scenes of traders, travelers, fishermen and women crossing the Zambezi river on floating planks, ferries, rickshaw boats, and canoes will soon come to an end. In just 24 months, travelling between the water-rich but land-locked Zambia and Botswana will get easier, smoother and faster, when the new road and rail bridge, currently under construction across the waters of the Zambezi, is commissioned for public use.
The 923-metre-long by 18.5-metre-wide masterpiece will link the town of Kazungula in Zambia with Botswana. Its location traverses the intersection of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers. At this point, four countries - Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – meet.
The Kazungula Bridge Project will have a single-line railway track, pavement for pedestrians and international border facilities: two One-Stop Border Posts, located on Botswanan and Zambian territory. When completed, the bridge will be connected to the Mosetse-Kazungula Railway.
The project was one of several projects showcased by officials of the Kazungula Bridge Project Office during the 2018 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week.
Seeing is believing. Consequently, the conveners of the annual infrastructure summit, the African Union Commission, NEPAD and the African Development Bank, scheduled a trip to the site of the project as part of the week-long PIDA Week, held from 26-29 November 2018.
“It is obvious that once completed, the Kazungula Bridge Project will actually bridge the regional divide,” Mamady Souare, Manager for Regional Integration Operations at the Bank told the 110 participants and reporters who made the trip from Victoria Falls to Kazungula.
“The project will transform the dynamics of transportation in surrounding communities, counties and cities, boosting road travel and the ease of doing business within the Southern African Development Community, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa,” Souare further remarked.
The development has been facilitated by a tripartite arrangement between Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe on the North-South Corridor within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region and is part of a corridor-long infrastructure improvement programme, to enhance regional trade and integration.
Following feasibility studies and funding approval for the nearly $260 million project by the board of the African Development Bank in 2011, construction began in 2014, after the governments of Zambia and Botswana announced a deal to build a bridge, replacing the existing Kazungula ferry service. The principal financiers of the project include the governments of Zambia and Botswana, the African Development Bank, the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund grant and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Zimbabwe was brought on board the project as a stakeholder in March 2018, after Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Ian Khama of Botswana and Edgar Lungu of Zambia jointly inspected the progress of the multi-million-dollar project.
Also addressing media in Kazungula, Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Agency said: “Progress is not only visible on the Kazungula Bridge Project, but this project is proof of the consensus and focus on infrastructure development amongst regional and continental stakeholders and credit must be given to PIDA for this…”
As of October 2018, the project had created about 1,485 new jobs including employment for 118 women.
From a policy perspective, the Kazungula Bridge Project leverages the African Development Bank’s Industrialization Strategy for Africa (2016 - 2025). It also aligns with several programs and strategies put in place by regional and continental bodies to improve infrastructure as an anchor for sustainable transformation. These include: the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan; the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015 - 2020; the Tripartite Trade and Transport Facilitation Programme; the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Short-Term Action Plan, and PIDA.
As the first wave of vehicles and pedestrians begin to use the new bridge, the regional economy will receive a much-needed boost through increased traffic throughout the North-South Corridor, a key trade route linking the port of Durban in South Africa to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, DR Congo, and up to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.
The facility will effectively serve as a gateway for goods from landlocked Zambia and Botswana to the afore listed countries straddling the North-South Corridor, a geographical zone of about 279 million people, larger than the populations of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain combined.
When completed, the bridge and one-stop-border-posts facilities will enhance regional trade, spur increased global competitiveness due to reduced time-based trade and transport costs, and reduction of transit time for freight and passengers from between three to eight days to less than half a day.
The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) said on Friday an audit shows mining companies owe the government more than the state is due to pay them in tax refunds.
Mining companies have been demanding Zambia pay the $550-$600 million due to them in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds.
“When we put together what we owe the mining companies compared with what they are owing, you find that on the balance of numbers they are actually owing more,” ZRA Commissioner-General Kingsley Chanda said at a media briefing.
Chanda did not say how much mining companies owed the state but said it included penalties and interest. Mining companies pay government royalties and tax.