By SITUMBEKO SITWALA
A GROUP of South Africa-based investors left the country on Saturday after a five-day fact-finding mission with a promise to direct close to 200 foreign businesses to Zambia.
The 14-man delegation visited Lusaka and Luapula provinces where they received an overview of the investment opportunities that exist in the country and the two provinces.
Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) public relations manager Margaret Chimanse and Luapula Province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo said in separate interviews on Saturday that the South African company executives were impressed with the rich investment opportunities in Zambia.
The South African businessmen have promised to promote Luapulaâ€™s investment environment through roadshows and other avenues during which they expect to target up to 200 investors to bring their businesses to Zambia.
â€œThis is an opportunity that is open to all South Africans looking for investment opportunities outside their country and as ZDA, we are more than ready to give them all the support they need,â€ Ms Chimanse said.
Ms Chimanse said the visit to ambia was principally aimed at exploring Luapulaâ€™s investment potential in the agriculture, energy, mining and tourism sectors.
Ms Chimanse gave credit to Mr Kasoloâ€™s proactive stance in his search for a development plan for Luapula.
The investorsâ€™ mission to Zambia was initiated by South Africa-based Zambian businessman Evance Chanda and his South African counterpart, Paul Runge, who hosted an investment promotion.
Luapula Province deputy permanent secretary Joyce Nsamba and chief provincial planner Daisy Seketeni attended the investment promotion forum that was held in South Africa four months ago.
Mr Chanda and Mr Runge are senior members of the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In Luapula, the South African delegation visited Mr Kasoloâ€™s office in Mansa, Mununshi banana scheme, Luena farm block, Chishinga state ranch, CNC poultry farm and held discussions with local businessman and Tranter Resources Zambia Limited chief executive officer, Sixtus Mulenga.
They also visited Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporationâ€™s 20-hectare tree plantation, Kawambwa Tea and Chishimba Falls hydro-power station, among other places.
Mr Kasoloâ€™s vision is to turn Luapula into Zambiaâ€™s third biggest economy after Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces.
He said his office is pursuing a nine-point plan that will include attracting investment in agriculture, energy, infrastructure development, mining, rural industrialisation and tourism, among other areas.
By SITUMBEKO SITWALA