Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
ZAMBIA is home to several chambers of commerce which are positioning the country for prosperity by assisting companies seeking to invest in Zambia with information, advice and contacts, among others.
These include the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia, the British Chamber of Commerce – Zambia and the French-Zambian Chamber of Commerce (FZCC).
The FZCC aims to contribute to the economy by encouraging French investment into the country, to support small and medium enterprises in Zambia through encouraging the formation of strategic links with French companies, as well as to promote the business interests of both Zambian and French companies.
“As such, the FZCC was created to represent the trade and investment pillar of French activity in Zambia, in order to carry forward this vision of His Excellency Emmanuel Macron,” says Michael Kefile, the FZCC administrative officer/ assistant marketing officer.
Mr Kefile said Mr Macron wishes to develop Franco-African relations.
“He recalled in many speeches the importance of Africa’s role in the world of tomorrow. The creation of the French-Zambian Chamber of Commerce is part of this context. It aims to support the new African economic dynamism, and to contribute to the development of economic relations between our two countries. The French strengths are recognised in Zambia, including renewable energies and the environment, but also agriculture, health and tourism,” Mr Kefile said
He said through the FZCC, the installation of small and medium enterprises in Zambia will be facilitated.
“The Chamber of Commerce was created to allow French companies to have a French-speaking contact for all administrative procedures. The FZCC will coordinate with the EU-Zambia Business Club (there are many chamber members in this organisation, which is also recent),” he said.
Mr Kefile says currently, there are four corporate members, with three having representatives sitting on the board of directors. These include Total, Bollore Logistics and Lafarge Holcim. The fourth corporate member is Zamastone.
The three prominent corporate members are Total, Bollore Logistics, and Lafarge Holcim which are some of the biggest players in their respective markets.
Mr Kefile says the FZCC aims to contribute to the economy by encouraging French investment into the country and to support SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in Zambia through encouraging the formation of strategic links with French companies, as well as to promote the business interests of both Zambian and French companies.
Mr Kefile says the French Development Agency (FDA) invested over €200 million last year to improve the Zambian economy in various sectors.
Regional director Martha Stein- Sochas said the money was given to the Government; a sovereign loan which was given out under the transport, energy and water sectors.
Ms Sochas said in Lusaka recently that most of the projects funded under the loan have been completed.
“The FDA has given Government a sovereign loan of over €200 million in three sectors with the first being the construction of the east road and that project has since been completed awaiting the official commissioning by the President,” she said.
She named the project in the energy sector as the financing of the Itezhi Tezhi hydro-power project, which was just commissioned recently.
“Our latest project is the one we are co-financing with KFW (a German government-owned development bank). The project is being called the southern division which is looking at energy distribution in Southern Province,” Ms Stein- Sochas said.
“And our final project is the one under the Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company on the Copperbelt,” she said.
“Our plan is to work with state agencies that have solid balance sheets and solid strategic plans that will give us value for the money invested,” she said.
Mr Kefile says the FZCC intends to conduct such interactions in every quarter of the year given the benefits of such interactions which include increased business network, and visibility for companies, both large and small.
Aside from marketing Zambia’s favourable economy to Francophone investors, the FZCC will also conduct all the administrative procedures required for foreign investors to set up businesses in the country, thereby reducing the burden on them.
Future interactions will be held in a conducive environment characterised by the promotion of the wines of the Beaujolais region, as well as offering targeted marketing for organisations and companies.
The event will facilitate the provision of a networking platform with senior executives of various local and multinational companies, the diplomatic corps, and as of this year, the members of the FZCC.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO