Zambia targets $1bn Indian investment

By Nawa Mutumweno – Zambia is this year scheduled to receive $1 billion from India in foreign direct investment (FDI) and from Indians living in Zambia.

According to Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati, of the $1 billion, about half was projected to come from Indians living in Zambia while the other half would come from Indian investors.

Addressing the Indian business community in Lusaka recently under the auspices of the Indian Business Council of Zambia (IBCZ), Mr Mutati acknowledged India as Zambia’s biggest investment partner with figures standing at over $3 billion.

Unlike most large-scale investors in the country, Indian investors were involved in manufacturing and value addition to raw materials. Indian investors were not just leaders in exporting Zambia’s main foreign exchange earner, copper, but were also involved in the non-traditional exports (NTEs) sector.

“India is Zambia’s biggest investment partner. Indian nationals both inside and outside the country have contributed massively to the economic development of Zambia and investment is well in excess of $3 billion,” he elaborated.

Zambia has in recent years witnessed India’s heavy investment in mining (Vedanta Resources, operating Konkola Copper Mines), telecommunications (Bharti Airtel) and manufacturing (Trade Kings, the giant detergent manufacturer, among others).

Indian firms have created about 50 000 jobs for Zambians cutting across various sectors.

Apart from FDI, India had provided concessional loans to Government of $25 million and a grant of $5 million.

And IBCZ chairperson Ashok Kumar, who is also Indian High Commissioner to Zambia, said his country would create opportunities for more investment, identifying the EXIM Conclave exhibitions as one. The seventh edition of the fair will be held in India in March 2011.

“Since we started the EXIM Conclave exhibition seven years ago, trade between Zambia and India has risen by up to 40% and we are committed to more investment and links with Indian manufacturing sector,” Mr Kumar enthused.