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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Consultancy—A new Zambian Profession?

Economy Consultancy—A new Zambian Profession?

'Economic and social welfare consultants' conducting their business

By Wesley Ngwenya
There are increasingly becoming more and more people who are claiming to be consultants on the Zambian marketplace. Today, there are consultants almost in everything—banking, insurance, marketing, media, public relations, human resource, energy, mining, agriculture, advertising, corporate affairs, health and so forth. Just name the field and you are almost guaranteed someone will surface to offer you their services.

These consultants are getting more and more clever—coming up with fancy names. Some of them call themselves specialists, experts, agents and correspondents. Others use professional titles such as economists even when they have never attended any business school anywhere. I have personally talked to one who calls himself a circumcision consultant while another one was called a herbal and spiritual expert. Should Zambian business people be concerned at all at this new surge of consultants?

I remember four months ago when I was chatting with my mentor who was trying to suggest a “consultancy title” that I should be using in my articles as well as the business I am establishing. Firstly, she looked at the work that I was involved in and the range of topics I cover in my articles. She came up with “Media and Communications Agent”. I appreciated her thoughtfulness and encouragement but I am yet to use this title. While these specialized titles do offer some sort of description about the person, they can be equally deceiving.

What seems to be happening here in Zambia is that the moment someone is fired from their job then they start up a consulting business. While this is a good initiative and the efforts should be applauded, there are also concerns that need to be raised. Firstly, the fact that these people could not keep their jobs for whatever reasons is something to be concerned about. Secondly, suddenly these people become “experts” simply because they are working for themselves, hmm? Thirdly, why didn’t these people proactively engage themselves in providing their expertise to the business community while they were fully employed? If you are an expert in a particular field, you will offer that service one way or the other to the community whether or not you are working.

From my experience in the last three years there seem to be two kinds of perception about consultants. The first perception is the one where people think you are a briefcase businessperson. It means you are a businessperson who has either been retrenched from your job or you are just passing time trying to find something meaningful. This also means you are broke. The second perception is actually the opposite of the first one. It means you are doing fine and making money. It means you have been lucky to get some good contract somewhere through your connections. Unlike the first perception, the consultants in this category are the kind that quit their job and offer their services on full time basis. These are people who have realized that if they can make money for their bosses using their skills and expertise, then why not use the same skills and expertise to make money for themselves?

I must also say that there are many Zambian consultants who are passionate about what they are doing. Two people come to mind that I have come to respect not only their work but also as individuals. First is Rozious Siatwambo, the founder of Great North Academy and author of the successful book Exams Made Easy. From interacting with him, you can tell that Rozious is passionate about education in this country. It is in his blood. The other person that comes to mind is Mubita Nawa, the renowned motivational speaker. Mubita is just what Zambia needs today. He is spirited and a thoughtful person. Both of these individuals are consultants in their fields of expertise. They started offering their services way back even when they were not offered. Today, they are making money and have established successful business brands for themselves.

Some will argue that consultancy is becoming big business in Zambia—I don’t think so. We are still long ways to have “real experts” in many of the claimed fields. Look at how many higher educational institutions we have in Zambia and the kind of courses offered. Furthermore, the Zambian economy is too small to accommodate the numbers of consultants entering the market everyday. But again, it could be attributed to the lack of job opportunities that is converting many jobseekers into self proclaimed consultants.

Finally, consultants need to think beyond “consulting” because let’s face it Lusaka can only have so many human resource consultants. The market is saturated. Consultants need to start looking at setting up business empires. They need to look at products and services that no one else is providing or has ever provided. They even need to start looking outside Lusaka because they can be money there too. How about a television station in Western Province or a commercial radio station in Northwestern Province? As your “Media and Communications Agent” I will be more than willing to consult. Adious.

40 COMMENTS

  1. The article failed to recognise the most recent crown consultant – Fredrick Titus Jacob Kafupi Chiluba. His specialty, Theft and political engineering (another term for stealing).

  2. So what are u saying Mr Author, should we stop thinking outside the box coz obviously even you if we are to check you up maybe you call yourself a Consultant, its all about seizing opportunities in life these days my man.

  3. I doubt very much if FTJ wiil last long as a consultant coz he failed in his first assignment terribly.

  4. Please define Consultant for me. Secondly, which employer in Zambia allows its full time employees to take up another job whilst in full time employment with them? I only know of medical practitioners. The article is not well researched. If more and more consultants are coming up then it means that the market is still there.

  5. This article lacks substance and coherency. The writer starts off as though they have a real argument to put across against the growth of the “new order” in our society. But in the end, the writer comes across as an empty head. The greatest generators of jobs are the entrepreneurs and innovators who are willing to take a chance on a good idea. I salute those individuals (consultants) that this ***** want to look down up-on as they have taken the bold step to jump out of their comfort zone and do something different.

  6. I do not think it is right to include individuals in such an article. It sounds like advertisement. In a corrupt nation like Zambia, will it be wrong for me to think the author had cut from praised individuals Rozious Siatwambo and Mubita. He says the are too many but manages to praise only 2. What condemning two more others to balance it up?.
    One thing I have noticed in articles dreamed on this site is that they lack extensive research and intelligence. One of the greatest indicator of a market is the number of entities it can support. If for example u can set up 20 bars in one location and do run out of beers, there is nothing stopping adding 5 more. If the market is saturated as suggested, we should be seeing more of these consultants closing shop not opening.

  7. The author should also have pointed out the recent appetite for titles in Zed. Suddenyl we have an outbreak of people who have not even been to college bieng Doctors, also thres lots of ‘Bishops’, ‘Prophets’ ‘Disciples’, etc. Whereever you go you ll find funny looking chaps with some really flowery titles. Also, another trend is that every President we get will leave with the title ‘Dr’. I ll bet my last penny that before the end of the year RB will also become Dr Thandi

  8. For real this article is rubbish other than just advertising those two individuals. Zambia has adopted a free market economy and thus its private sector driven. So demand & supply is at play it regulates the mkt for consultancy business too. So any innovator is welcome so long there is demand for its products. Dont just advertise or market certain individuals coz of personal benefits but tell pipo sensible things, ala!

  9. For real this article is RUBBISH and is just advertising those two individuals. Zambia has adopted a free market economy and thus its private sector driven. So demand & supply is at play it regulates the mkt for consultancy business too. So any innovator is welcome so long there is demand for its products. Dont just advertise or market certain individuals coz of personal benefits but tell pipo sensible things, ala!

  10. “Consultancy” according to the Oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary is “a company that gives expert advice on a particular subject to other companies or organizations, [about such things as]
    a management/design/computer, etc. consulty”; and or “expert advice that a company or person is paid to provide on a particular subject”. This means that there is no way the act of “giving advice” can be a profession. The actual subject matter tends to be “the profession” that an entity (individual and or a company) can offer consultancy.
    There is nothing wrong with the mushrooming of consultants; what matters is the “quality” and “professional expertise” of the said consultant(s); and how well the subject matter is regulated by the laws of a country.

  11. For instance, the Engineering and construction industry professionals, where i belong, one cannot be a consultant without being a Registered profession; having attained recognised academic qualifications, plus industrial experience, and having sat for “Assessment for profesional competence”. If the zambian government used such fellows in their bid to improve infrastructure, things would be different in the country. Because these professionals are neglected, Zambia will forever have masive infrastructure deficit; resulting in poor water, electricity, sewerage, roads, and other services. Other consultants such as lawyers have given you a taste of what they can do; constitution; the list can be endless.

  12. # 9 (Bashi Thandi) U are 100% correct. In Zed, many pipo who have failed in life end up as PASTORS and coz of selfish motives to be easily recognised in society end up adopting fake titles as DOCTORS, BISHOPS,PROPHETS etc. Since in these churches pipo dont question but take everything as AMEN, so these liars (pastors) have established themselves & live on poor pipo’s money whom they cheat every sunday thru so called sacrificial offerings. Kwena ichi ni chalo cha ka wena. How i wish pipo can open there eyez to see how these liars are stealing their hard earned cash

  13. #14 good! additionally it all comes back to the government. There is not control in all sectors, people build houses any place they like, start all sorts of businesses at will. Instead of the government chasing down street vendors, illegal businesses churches etc they should come up with methods of organizing, controlling the mushrooming operations and in the end tax them. Put street vendors in designated vending areas, all illegal taxis, all mushrooming business and tax them. If look at cars that the likes of Imakando are driving you cannot estimate how the government is losing out. In the end heavily taxing the few individuals that have formal employment

  14. Please don’t blame people for coming up with some initiative and at least give themselves hope where these non

  15. In think if thats whats happening at home then we’re in the right direction. It means people are getting off their butts and doing someting, with time it impositors will fall off leaving genuine consultants to do their job.

  16. You know, there have been over the years, literally thousands of so called ‘consultants’ coming into Zambia, producing reports and assessments, paid large sums of money, tax free, and off they go to the next ‘consultancy’. They are a complete waste of space, their reports are never reviewed properly, they do not know the meaning of ‘implementation’. The only people worth their weight in Zambia are the business community. Donors, NGO’s and professional academics waste time and achieve nothing…where have all the millions in aid gone, come on people, get real, kick the donors out and support Zambian business and innovation.

  17. And you call Mubita Nawa a “consultant” by talking to married/single women, and hence he has become one h.e.l.l of a ka male “alangizi”. What the chap writes in most of his articles is “copy/paste” from other scholars, so those are not his thoughts per se!

  18. Instead of castigating them,just join them as Media and Communication Agent mudala.You may strike gold.You never know.Its seems you are also intererested.

  19. The author is atterly, completely and outrightly correct. We are simply tired of of some of these dull chaps calling themselves consultants just because they are retired, have failed to find a formal job or are fired from their jobs. I knew a man once who called himself a Health Consultant. The chap had been a Human Resource Officer in the Ministry of Health but due to misapprpriation of funds was fired. What health consutancy is this guy ready to offer whebnn as a Human Resource Manager, he did nothing save sit on his desk?

  20. There was also a time when my organisation was responding to the Government’s directive for organisatiions to recognise their statistcal needs in order for the Government to develop the National Staistical Needs Plan. So it was resolved to hire a Consultant to help come up this report for onward conveyance to a Govt Dept. Along came this old, retired and clearly spent man calling himself Consultant. All he did was sit in his desk as people brainstormed. The truth as Mr. Ngwenya has put it is that there are just too many useless consultants without the sincerity to confess to their true needs.

  21. #14 you hit the nail on the forehead. I have a friend thats a pastor and boy is he shady . But of course his congregation take him seriously and treat him as if he is one of the people from the bible. He is a lying cheating conman who fleeces his own congregation with guilt trips. Sometimes I just sit back and watch in amazement how a con man can con smart people by saying his opinion is from above

  22. Mr Author…Zambia is infact behind wrt recognising consultancy….you can hardly make a living as a business consultant in Zed….In any case consultancy is about professionalism. I remember one guy saying pa Zed even a shoe repair can attempt to repair a car …even an earoplane…just to make a living…what matters is the result and the so called consultant will exposed if result are not coming

  23. why does Lusaka Times allow people using other people’s names publish arcticles. There is only on Zambian who has a PHD degree named Dr. Kanganja. I challege you on this one. zambia is a small country.

  24. Excuse me, my father is consultant and also has PhD in Economics. I interned at his office one summer. What this person who wrote this is failing recognize is that every consultancy bid comes with a technical package, which stipulates the expertise and experience partaining to the bid they are making, also included is a rough order of magnitude stating the cost breakdown for the work. You make it sound like these are people with nothing better to do… and maybe they are… had your so called government provided adequate jobs for real professionals maybe they wouldn’t have to turn to consulatncy work. This article is upsetting in its complete one sided view of people who simply trying to make a living in a country where you have to know someone who knows someone to get by…

  25. This is probably the most one sided totally not researched article I have seen. This guy is just as bad a journalist as the “consultants” he is putting down

  26. If someone has information, knowledge or connections you need and are prepared to pay money for, there is no reason why that person cannot describe themselves as a consultant for that particular purpose. Who said one needs a qualification to be a consultant? There are too many bogus or insubstantial qualifications yielding graduates with papers but little common sense or commercial acumen from all manner of establishments. So why should such paper weight graduates have more credibility over people who have something to contribute but no rubber stamp to prove they paid someone to transfer such knowledge to them in a classroom?

  27. Why does the editor of this website allow such useless articles to be posted. To start with there is no news content. The author seems to have an axe to grind with some individuals that he knows. He also believes that few Zambians can be experts in certain areas. Please try to access some articles if they are worth publishing! We have come to rely on this site for accurate and reliable NEWS. Please do not contaminate the good work you are doing by such NEGATIVE articles. I would suggest the author apologizes for looking down on the numerous experts we have in the country.

  28. #18 AKA: when you say “Donors, NGO’s and professional academics waste time and achieve nothing”; you could be right to some extent. However, a lot of people confuse the two aspects: ACADEMIA and the Industry. If academia is to be productive, industry should be complemented by academia. But if you have an industry that does not recognise academia, then research doesnt find itself in the industry. For instance, Professor Chirwa is one of the academic professional that has worked on various industrial projects such as airbus A380 (stand to be corrected). But if the guy was to work in Zambia, his research couldnt has been applied in anyway; hence susceptible to be labelled “virtually useless”. Academia and industry should complement, not compete.

  29. If you followed the BP oil spill in the USA, the president used “experts” to inform the nation about the issues of that spill. Have you ever seen a Zambian politician respect “expert opinion”? Never. Recently Zesco employed an energy expert at Zesco, when the guy refused to give them money for a by-election, the guy was put in so much pressure that he couldnt work. He resigned. Surely some need to be politicians, others lawyers, and the list can go on; but without respect for each profession, the result is what you see in Zambia. As you can tell from my arguments, I am an academician, very qualified, and have proven that i can perform even in the industry as i work as a consultant on many international projects, except in Zambia where i wouldnt even feature!! It is sad for our…

  30. I have watched and read most the articles Wesley writes, they have no substance. Does he ever ask himself why readers criticize everything he writes? Thats because he himself is a good example of the same low consultants he is down playing, I hope he doesn’t call himself a journalist. Common sense dictates that when you cannot get employed, work for yourself. I agree with most of the bloggers, he should not have mentioned any names, it sounds like advertising. Imwe ba Wesley muleikala fyeee. Go back to school and become and expert at whatever you write maybe people will listen to you.

  31. He says, “As your “Media and Communications Agent” I will be more than willing to consult.”

    Good luck finding a willing customer who will give credence to your objective journalistic skills based on the above article!

  32. How credible are Kafupi’s credentials? Kafupi is Banda’s consultant for your own information. Atleast he has a PHD in political engineering. He was unable to engineer anything in Chifubu. Someone to help me see consultancy in Chiluba, please.

  33. Nice article…. i personally know one chap who has had misfortunes of losings jobs as a driver.Sources tell me that the chap is now running an Architectural Consulting firm.I think what the writer is trying to put across in this article, is that not all of these guys that have had taken this path are worth all the Gold and Silver.

  34. Ha, ha, ha. He he he. Short-One Kafupi’s Consulting Politicians and Former Unionist.
    Speciality Consultants to Bwezaniness on how to plunder the Zedians.
    I stop before I faint from too much laughter.

    Why not just do the free speech thing and Chiluba and Banda for what they are!
    Or are you waitung for the Pact next year?

  35. LT does this author earn his living from these articles? (do you pay him for such bull? maybe as a consultant or analyst of sorts). I know he is trying to say consultancy is the new milking cow and that alot of quacks are havind a field day but the article ends up downplaying the real need for consultancy and real consultants. He singles out 2 “good consultants” without defining what good cosultancy is. And having created so much doubt and distrust for consultants and about the industry he expects us to trust him talking about consultancy without quoting any authorities when he himself is not one. the author fails onnce again to rise to the occassion.

  36. I have access to a consignment of about 30,000 Brand New Single Shoes. They are made-up of Ladies. Gents and Children’s shoes.

    An NGO wishes to find models/consultants in Zambia and Malawi.

    Interested parties may respond to [email protected].

Comments are closed.

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