Editor's Comment

Call to redefine investor

LUSAKA city.

THE English dictionary defines an investor as a person who puts money into something in order to make a profit or get an advantage.
But in the minds of many Zambians, the word investor is synonymous with foreigner.
While it may not be backed by research, it is common knowledge that every time a call is made by Government for people to invest in the country’s various sectors, the locals lay back waiting for foreigners to respond to the call.
Going by the English dictionary’s definition of an investor, anyone qualifies to be an investor, whether local or foreigner, given they have or can access capital to inject into a business venture with a view to getting a return.
Most Zambians have unconsciously dismissed themselves as potential investors, leaving the investment platform to be dominated by foreigners.
Even for those already running businesses, some do not consider themselves as investors who can venture into other sectors and whose contributions can turn the fortunes of this country around.
President Lungu is therefore apt in calling for the redefinition of the term investor to mean ‘ourselves’.
Zambians need to change their mindsets of who an investor is. It is time Zambians demonstrated patriotism to the motherland by getting actively involved in the economic affairs of the country.
This is the only way we are going to shape our own destiny as a country.
Currently, the gloomy picture is that various sectors of investment are largely dominated by foreigners.
However, if we truly desire to grow our economy, Zambians themselves need to be involved in all sectors of investment and at all levels. While we appreciate foreigners who have shown interest by investing in Zambia, they should only supplement our efforts while we take the lead.
It is gratifying that some patriotic Zambians are already making investment inroads. A case in point is the establishment of an iron and steel plant in Kafue. This is indeed commendable and the way to go for more Zambians.
The resolve by these patriots has cheered the head of State, who has since declared Kafue an iron and steel economic facility zone in a move to encourage home-grown industries.
President Lungu has said the economic facility zone is meant to help revamp the economic status of Kafue and spearhead the industrialisation programme for the country as a whole.
This goes to show that President Lungu is passionate about home-grown industries given their inimitable role in the development of our country.
Given such political will, Zambians have no excuse for not venturing into high potential areas such as agriculture.
For instance, there is a yawning market for agricultural produce in the region, which Zambians can exploit and thereby earning revenue for the country.
While investments are at different levels, citizens should not shy away from small beginnings. This is because investments, if handled well, have potential to grow.
Actually, even small investments collectively add up to the big economic picture of the country.
Citizens should also take advantage of the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Fund to start new business ventures or grow old ones.
Apart from providing alternative sources of funding for citizens, the government can help local businesses, especially farmers, to access markets in the region and beyond.
Government, through Zambia Development Agency and other stakeholders, can also help citizens by providing information on various business opportunities available in the country.
However, citizens should also be proactive in searching for opportunities and knowledge in areas of interest.
This is the only way we are going to increase the number of home-grown industries, which are critical to job creation and economic growth of the country.
As long as major investments in Zambia remain in foreign hands, so will our country’s economy and future.
The choice is ours.

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