Analysis: ALEX NJOVU
THE move by the Luangwa town council to hold an investment expo next month is welcome and a step in the right direction in showcasing the district’s investment opportunities.Luangwa is a sleeping tourism giant with rich tourist attractions such as cultural heritage, natural aesthetics, Zambezi and Luangwa Rivers among others.
Investors from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, America, China , North Africa and Zambia are expected to attend the expo.
The town offers various investment opportunities such as banking services, wildlife and tourism, oil exploration and mining, crocodile farming, sport fishing, fish farming and livestock production especially of cattle and goats. Other opportunities include solar energy generation and manufacturing of boats among others.
Given its location in the Lower Zambezi National Park and Rufunsa Game management Area (GMA), Luangwa has abundant wildlife. The abundance of wildlife makes Luangwa town an ideal destination for safaris.
Luangwa town is strategically located and has plenty of land for property development. The town also has high-value plots along the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers suitable for development of lodges and hotels.
The district is located in a depression that consists of the lower Zambezi and Luangwa valleys.
It sits on the eastern side of Lusaka, about 350 kilometres from the city. It is one of the six districts under Lusaka Province.
It is situated in the unique area that is within the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers. It shares borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The preparations for the expo have reached an advanced stage and the event will tentatively be held next month from July 19 to 21.
The theme of the expo is Transforming Luangwa into a Trade, Transit and Tourism Destination.
The essence of the expo is to draw credible investments in the key potential economic areas namely trade and investment, fish farming, mining and hotel and tourism development along the Zambezi River.
The expo is aimed at showcasing Luangwa’s trade industry and tourism potential.
According to Luangwa council secretary Gilbert Sendama, who made a presentation to Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo and a team of senior government officials last week, the concept was adopted by the council under minute number LDC/PWDSSW/01/02/18 and District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC) on May 22, 2018.
The council has held several meetings with various government departments and ministries towards the holding of the expo.
The expo is expected to coincide with the launch of a pontoon to open the gateway to Zimbabwe and South Africa which will be the main driver for the establishment of transit border infrastructure such as an inland customs and clearing dry pot, freight and clearing agencies and other border-related facilities.
Arrangements for the delivery of the pontoon by the Engineering Services Company (ESCO) under the Ministry of Transport and Communications have already been concluded. The district now simply awaits the issuance of the landing permit from the Zimbabwean government.
It will be a life-time opportunity for both foreign and local investors, captains of industry, decision-makers and financiers to meet and engage in serious business activities.
The council has established a website (www.luangwadistrict.com) where information on the event is readily available.
There is no doubt that Luangwa residents will reap maximum economic benefits from the event.
The area is unique with a number of eye-catching sites. The geographical set-up of the land is one of the best, the baobab trees, masau fruits, the confluence of Luangwa and Zambezi rivers including the point where the Ngoni people led by their leader Zwangendaba crossed the Zambezi River in 1835 from Zimbabwe into Zambia.
The people, too, are friendly and accommodating and they support development that is aimed at transforming the district.
The administration in Luangwa, especially the Luangwa council, must be commended for its plans to hold an expo, which will be the first fair of its kind in the district.
The people behind this excellent initiative must be supported because it is through such interactions with investors, policy-makers, captains of Industry and decision-makers that meaningful development is achieved.
The people of Luangwa, through their hard working traditional leaders Senior Chief Mbuluma of the Nsenga Ludzi people and Chief Mphuka of the Chikunda people, must embrace the expo and do everything within their powers to make it a success.
The Luangwa Cultural Establishment, through its leadership led by Joseph Felemenga, must support the council in its quest to change the face of the town.
Government has over the years injected millions of Kwacha into the district for implementation of viable development projects that have helped in reducing poverty levels.
Yes, unemployment is still very high, especially among the youths, due to non-availability of industries despite having various investment opportunities but with the coming of initiatives such as the expo, the tide will soon change. The area may not have modern infrastructure such as shopping malls and trading facilities but it has received a fair share of the national cake.
Let’s work together in insuring a promising and sustainable future for Luangwa town.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail senior report.
Analysis: ALEX NJOVU