A shared future of prosperity
The author is the Republic of Zambia’s ambassador to South Korea.
Every year on Oct. 24, Zambia celebrates its Independence Day in commemoration of the day it attained its freedom from British rule in 1964. Zambia’s independence came ten months after the collapse of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, with Northern Rhodesia becoming the Republic of Zambia. Many post-colonial African nations suffered from years of turmoil and war, however, for the most part, Zambia has managed to avoid this fate thus earning itself a reputation for political stability and a beacon of peace on the African continent. This year, Zambia will be celebrating its Independence Day under the theme, “Celebrating a Shared Future of Unity, Development & Prosperity.”
His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu has been the sixth Republican president of Zambia since January 2015. One of the major achievements of President Lungu and the Patriotic Front government has been infrastructure development. With infrastructure development, Zambian citizens now have better access to services and facilities. Under the road sector, the Government has been implementing the LinkZambia 8000 program and other road projects aimed at transforming Zambia into a land-linked country. Apart from creating jobs, the road projects have been instrumental in contributing to the opening up of new business opportunities in the country.
Zambia has completed development of its medium-term national development plan — the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). Anchored on the Zambia’s long-term development strategy, the Vision 2030, wherein Zambia aspires to become a prosperous middle income country by 2030, the seventh NDP will guide Zambia’s development strides between 2017 and 2021. The plan gives a direction of Zambia’s broad parameter of government development agenda in the next four years.
I officially took up my post as Zambian ambassador to South Korea on Oct. 31 of last year. The first thing I identified as I settled down was that, given the huge potential existing in both South Korea and Zambia, there was an unacceptably low level of trade and economic cooperation between the two nations. I attribute this to the low levels of awareness in Korea about Africa in general and about Zambia in particular. The same goes in Zambia about Korea.
As Zambia’s ambassador to Korea, I am focused on raising awareness and places great importance on this task. As such, the main activity for me and the embassy this year has been participating in cultural and tourism events, economic/business seminars and exhibitions, courtesy calls on key offices/organizations and visits to several companies. This strategy has been working well as the mission has been receiving and witnessing increased expressions of interest from Korean business people and tourists regarding Zambia. Recently a Korean business delegation undertook a trip to Zambia to explore various investment/business opportunities. I am confident that with ongoing efforts, especially into the coming year, there will be more increased establishment of cooperation between Zambia and Korea which will result in increased trade between the two countries.
Zambia is an attractive investment destination offering various lucrative investment opportunities in tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and mining. The investment climate is characterized by a stable macroeconomic environment, stable political system, investment guarantees and security, duty free access to regional markets, wider African and U.S. markets and unrestricted repatriation of after-tax profits. Zambia has signed double taxation agreements with a number of European, North America, African and Asian countries. Hence investors from such countries are not liable to tax in more than one country or territory. The government offers a well-balanced package of fiscal incentives in priority areas as well as additional negotiated benefits to strategic investments.
Zambia has predictable laws and policies with a government that is committed to investment. The Zambian government is pursuing a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. Local and foreign investors are treated equally. The people are highly peaceful and friendly. The Zambian economy is a well-advancing free market economy without price, exchange and interest controls. There is reduced or free import duty on certain raw materials and imports of machinery and equipment.
Zambia is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, a trend mirrored by the ever-increasing numbers of tourists flocking to this rich and diverse Southern African nation. Long celebrated for its peaceful history, rich and fertile land and the incredible natural wonders of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, it is perhaps the sheer wealth of activities now available to tourists that has seen Zambia rise up on the tourist rankings in recent years. Zambia, in fact, has a fairly long heritage and well-established reputation as one of Africa’s top safari destinations, and with such lush and sparsely-populated rural landscapes and so many different parks and safari activities to enjoy, it’s not hard to see why.
Traveling to Zambia from Korea is fairly easy with flights daily on Emirates (via Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa) and South African Airways (via Johannesburg). Visas can be processed at the Zambian Embassy in Korea for $50 for a single-entry visa and $80 for a double or multiple-entry visas.
Korea has made an amazing transformation from aid-recipient country to donor country in a mere 50 years. It’s worth emphasizing that this development success story has been underpinned by strong investments in science, technology and innovation. Korea’s remarkable technological advancements, industrialization and understanding of development have allowed Korea to become a model which is very useful for Zambia and other countries to emulate.