By Nawa Mutumweno, Reporting for Shout-Africa.com – Zambia has attracted investment pledges valued at $2.2 billion from India, according to the country’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade & Industry.
Some of the investments include Tata Group’s $20 million pumped in Taj Pamodzi Hotel while Kabwe Tannery is expected to be established into a modern leather processing plant by another Indian company.
In the energy sector, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and Tata Africa Holdings have formed a joint venture, Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation Limited to construct a hydro power project to cost $200 million.
Other Indian investments include Nava Bharat that acquired Maamba Collieries with an injection of $522 million to set up a thermal power plant and Puzzolana Group that is conducting a feasibility study to set up a sugar plantation in Northern Province.
Bharti Airtel and Varun Beverages have invested $10.7 million in Zain Zambia and $44 million to set up a Pepsi plant in Lusaka respectively.
Other sectors are real estate, services, tourism, transport and information communication and technology from 2006 to 2010.
Vedanta Resources $1.5 billion investment in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is one of India major ventures in the extractive industry.
However, the country’s exports to India are still very low despite it qualifying for an export duty and quota free to India under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) for selected items from Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
“To address the trade imbalance, Government through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) continues to take the necessary steps to attract not only foreign and local investment but also to encourage valued addition to goods and services being produced in the country for the benefit of both the consumer and our national economy,” Commerce permanent secretary Buleti Nsemukila said.
The trade imbalance offers an opportunity for Indian businesses to invest in Zambia or partner with local companies. Government, in conjunction with the support of stakeholders will continue to attract more foreign direct investment with a focus on the south-south investment which includes India, China and the Middle East.
And Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) chairman, Yusuf Dodia observed that India plays a significant role in supporting Zambia’s economic development.
“It is quite evident that Indian investments in Zambia will grow steadily over the next five years due to the fact that Zambia is an attractive business destination because of the liberal exchange regime, stable economy, mineral resources, friendly people, attractive business climate, and vast number of business opportunities that will return good profits to investors,” he elaborated.