Editor's Comment

Robust marketing will attract investment

SINCE the Patriotic Front formed government in 2011, there has been unprecedented investment in infrastructure development.
The country has witnessed massive investment in road, air and railway, education and health infrastructure along with the establishment of industrial parks and multi-economic facility zones.
In addition, Government has been setting up communication towers around the country to improve communication, one of the prerequisites to investment in rural areas.
Such infrastructure provides the physical structure needed to support economic activities. However, this investment risks going to waste if not followed by a robust marketing campaign intended to create awareness around the readiness and suitability of Zambia as an investment destination.
It is, therefore, pleasing that Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have pledged to collaborate in marketing the country as a best investment destination in the world.
This collaboration is designed to attract more foreign and domestic investors.
IDC was established to create and maximise long-term shareholder value as an active investor and shareholder of successful state-owned enterprises, as well as undertake industrialisation and rural development activities through the creation of new industries.
Its mission statement is to maximise long-term shareholder value in State-owned enterprises and invest in key economic sectors to contribute to industrialisation and sustainable economic growth.
IDC is Government’s principal, special, purpose vehicle for industrialisation and investment acceleration. That is where the two institutions meet and that is why they should work together.
Like ZDA board chairperson Fisho Mwale has rightly put it, Zambia has many investment opportunities in all sectors which need to be advertised as the country is attracting local and foreign investors.
However, opportunities in themselves cannot attract investors, hence the need for ZDA and IDC to work together along with sector-specific agencies.
While ZDA is more into attracting foreign investors, IDC has been working towards creating an enabling environment by identifying local investors while propping up the hitherto dormant public sector.
The two institutions will, therefore, continue working side by side to ensure that the country continues to harness its many comparative advantages.
More gratifying is the intention by ZDA to set up a modern trade centre at Mulungushi International Conference Centre worth about US$20 million which will house its offices, among other facilities.
Zambia needs such a centre where foreign investors will be going to look at the sectors available for investment.
Whatever efforts made in the promotion of investments are welcome because Zambia is in need of foreign direct investment just like any other country in the world.
Attracting investors needs innovation and the collaboration between ZDA and IDC is such partnership which is needed for a win-win situation.
The two need to come out clear on this new partnership which, by and large, is interdependent and whose objectives are similar.
The marketing efforts of the two institutions are critical because they will tackle areas that will make a difference.
Their same marketing efforts should marrying into the whole national development plan espoused in many national documents. They should have measurable targets and objectives of the drive.
IDC and ZDA should clearly state the realistic place for citizens in the whole scheme of things.
They are expected to answer to issues such as access to capital and its cost; access to real investment opportunities; exploitation of opportunities where there is national competitive edge; value-driven investments devoid of patronage.
ZDA and IDC should streamline legislation and processes that shall further ease the doing of business in the country.
Both should address perceptions that not only raise the cost of doing business but are disruptive to commerce and trade.

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