File: President Banda and other African and Arab leaders pose for a photograph at the Afro-Arab Summit in Libya

By Dr.Richard Mbewe

As the people’s revolutions sweep across the Middle East from Morocco to Bahrain, a number of analysts including the author have started wondering about the new political and economic order of that region, after the dust has settled down. For further discussion, the Middle Eastern region undergoing the turbulences can be divided into two parts: the Maghreb region comprising of countries of North Africa like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt and these are countries in the proximity to the European Union. The second part comprises of countries in the Arabian Peninsula like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and the Gulf States including the Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. Quite surprisingly Iran and Iraq are out of these revolts as those countries have specific problems of their own.

The consequences of what is happening in this region have a global impact due to a number of reasons and their effects have been amplified by the global impact of news transmission. This allows for people in this region to see and want to imitate what is happening in other countries. Thus, the Egyptian revolutions has been attributed to innovations in communication technology like Tweeter and/or Facebook. The second reason why events in that region have a global impact is that the region consists of countries that are major producers of crude oil, by far the most strategic commodity in the World. Libya accounts for 2% of global oil production and 10% of the oil used in the European Union. Thirdly, the region is the passage way for the majority of products involved in international trade through the Suez Canal. Indeed, the Suez Canal is the major route connecting Europe to Asia and to some extent to America. The supply of various raw materials and finished products, of which the most important is crude oil pass through here. The Suez Canal is also a path route for the telecommunications fiber network that facilitates phone, email, internet communications between Europe and Asia. Fourthly, the region is undergoing dynamic changes as regards to demographic issues – youths account for the majority of the population, an increase in fundamentalism (especially Islamic) and social tensions including the role of women in society. The equation is made more difficult by the Palestinian issue and the future of Israel in the region, dominated by Arab states that might not necessarily be friendly to it.

Another of the major impacts of the revolution in the Middle East is economical, especially the global role of huge funds that are owned by those states. I have in mind investments undertaken by those states through specific Sovereign Wealth Funds, especially those of major oil producers like Libya.

Prior to the revolution, Libya had become very active by investing its sovereign wealth in major businesses across the African continental, especially in telecommunications. The Libyan government investment company called Libya African Portfolio (LAP) has set up an investment vehicle called LAPGreenN has invested in the telecoms business in many African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Niger, Ivory Coast, Zambia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Togo. With the ongoing disintegration of Libya and the potential power vacuum that will come up (until a generally accepted leader takes over in Libya), it has become imperative to find the answers to a number of questions as regards to these Libyan investments in Africa.

Firstly, what will happen to foreign investments undertaken by the Gaddafi regime? Since Gaddafi was Libya’s strong, he was behind all these investment decisions. In light of a new nationalist government taking over, will these investments be cancelled off and the money taken back to Libya? Also, there is a danger that there might be a power vacuum upon Gaddafi’s departure. This power vacuum might be filled by Islamic fundamentalists. They might want to keep intact these investments (especially in telecommunications) in order to foster their further development of Islam in these countries where LAPGreenN is operating, especially in Africa south of the Sahara.

Taking into consideration that telecommunication is one of the most strategic sectors of an economic of a given country, what dangers will these African governments (including Zambia) will face in the new circumstances? On the other hand, the new government in Libya might as well just want to get rid of these investments to anybody that offers the best bid. This results of such a move whereby a strategic sector falls into the hands of investors who do not necessarily have Zambia’s national interests at heart.

This situation of LAPGreenN investment in ZamTel is a classical example of how you really have to analyze any privatization investment, prior to its launching it. Had the Zambian government undertaken appropriate assessment LAPGreenN, surely they would have come up with information that there is a possible threat to this investment exhibited by a change in the political situation in Libya. This should have been proved and counter-checked by Zambian intelligence security reports from Libya, as to how long the Gaddafi regime was going to hold on to power. Now it is time to protect our national interests by our not further losing control over such a strategic company.

Disclaimer: The opinions above express the individual views of the author and do not reflect the views of any other individuals and/or institutions (both private and public) that in any way related, work and/or co-operate with the author.

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131 COMMENTS

  1. Dr.Richard Mbewe you are a great analytical man.

    Zambia wasted a lot of money and ZAMTEL by allowing an MMD political made decision (not a business) at State House to allow LAP GreenN to take over ZAMTEL.

    So we may end up losing even the few QUIDS we were suppose to save had the decision made independently without political interference.

    President Banda should learn something from what is happening in Libya, the problem, he has said that he is a sturborn man and can not listen to advise. May be he can listen to act under pressure now.

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  2. My only question is why sell off something that is profitable? If the new govt finds the investments by LAP GreenN profitable, there is no reason they would sell them. Plus advancing Islam in the southern part of Africa is something that I view as highly unlikely. I read a figure that 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every year in Africa.

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  3. #2, reveal the source of your figure 6m converting to Islam in Africa, we will counter check if it is true. Without citing where you got this figure from, then we will conclude that it is not true.

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  4. Great analysis Dr Mbewe.
    Rupiah and his corrupt worshippers are more concerned about making themselves rich through dubious deals at state house since he has taken over the National Tender Board. Therefore,they don’t analyse situations when selling companies.
    Zambians refused the sale of ZamTel.We are in trouble to say the least.Lesa fye umwine.

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  5. Dr Richard Mbewe – your analysis is very flawed and unsound. You have focused only on the investment & memorandums that Libya has acquired into Africa.

    If RB has made a mistake then the rest of the world has made mistakes including USA, UK, France, German, China, Brazil, South Korea and South Africa doing buisness with Gadaffi.

    Libya has many Wealth Managers in Western Countries via Hedge Funds. Like in Zambia, Gadaffi invested heavily in Government Bonds & Treasuries in USA UK, German, China, Brazil, France, South Korea & South Africa. Gadaffi has also invested in Telecom companies in the Western Hemispheres / Countries.

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  6. Cont.. from 8#

    As matter of fact, Nelson Mandela was one o the first president who ignored the critics, went and signed business deals with Libya to show solidarity after Gadaffi had supported ANC during the struggle for independence. Libya has actively invested in South Africa.

    As it stand now, the US & UK has billion dollars Oil, Military & Commodity deals with Libya. One of the reasons why the Lockerbie Bomber was released was to facilitate more Trade Deals between the UK & Libya

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  7. # 2
    are u not the one who advocated for the sale of
    zamtel to lap green. The fact is there that gardafi owns lap green. RB frequented Libya many times and he facilitated the sale of zamtel to gardafi. Now gadafi is going? So what happens to zamtel? Imwe please this RB is not fit to rule this country. His children are the ones running the country through dubious business deals that shall never benefit Zambia. I will start tweet on BBC and tell the world that lapgreen Zambia is gardafi’s. This man has no agenda to move this country forward for the better lives in future.

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  8. Excellent analysis Dr Mbewe. From what i have seen, Zamtel sale was more political than business. Dora Siliya pushed for it stubbornly brushing off any advice. Buoyed by HERBB, they handed it to Qaddafi just thinking of his billions not moral standing or the interest of our beloved country. This blunder could haunt some people in the not too distant future. If Qaddafi could be forced out who cant be.

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  9. Yes Dr Mbewe, you are very correct. But what do you expect from a government full of corrupt people? Zambians and profesionals refused to sell Zamtel to Kadhaf but our corrupt RB and Dolar went solo in selling Zamtel. I think they are not sleeping over this issue. Very selfish corrupt creatures…let us see where this issue will end them.

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  10. Cont.. from 9#

    Saud Arabia is right now jittery. The King has just announced that he will give 35% Per Rise to everyone. He also promises to reduce the 40% unemployment of the youth those that are under 25years. Are we to say no one should do business with Saud Arabia just in case the uprise starts in that country.

    Therefore, the comments to blame RB as to why he went to Libya to do business are all CRAP.
    The rest of the world WAS doing business with Libya, until yesterday when the sanctions were announced by the UN. All these nations knew who Gadaffi was when they were doing business.

    No one knew that this ws coming to happen in the Arab World. Otherwise most investors could have not struck deals.

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  11. @ #4 Akol

    Granted even I doubt the credibility of this source but I did find it interesting.

    If you can read Arabic, the source is here:

    tinyurl . com / yfmner5 [remove spaces]

    You can use Google translate if it helps.

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  12. Independent observer
    we do not deny Libya investing but gardafi has made a lot of libyans suffer too much. His investments are his money stolen from libyans. So if you are a supporter of gardafi just speak onyour behalf. As a matter of fact I want this gardafi out of power. Can a person rule for 42 years if there are so many intellegent libyans to rule. Let him go to zim

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  13. @ #10 Ndajata ngombe

    Just to correct you, LAP GreenN is state owned. Saying it is owned by Gaddaffi is tatamount to saying Gaddaffi owns Libya. That said, I still wholeheartedly believe the sale of ZAMTEL was a good decision due to the fact that the company was on life support.

    You also do not have sufficient evidence to prove that President Banda facilitated the sale of ZAMTEL to LAP GreenN. That decision was made by ZDA. Where is your proof??

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  14. When Cooper prises went down the mines were making heavy loses. GRZ started subsidising and was spending Half a Million US Dollars a day to keep it afloat.

    The IMF put pressure on KK and then Chiluba to sell the mines. The biggest & s.tupid mistake Chiluba made was to rush and sell the mines in pieces and very cheap. He should have sold it as a bundle to one reputable foreign investor and then restructure ZCCM. And of course the money was stolen.

    ZAMTEL was making looses and was being subsidised by the government to keep it afloat similar to the ZCCM example above. This information is there for everyone to see.

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  15. of all companies that could buy zamtel,why lapgreenN? Where is W.Harringtone to give us more details on these fraudulent deal?

    workers at zamtel are confused,they can’t even perform as they anticipate another layoff

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  16. 17# Mr. Capitalist – 3 E’s steering economic growth

    Well articulated my friend

    It does not change anything if Gadaffi goes or dies today. LAP Green is state owned so it will be Business As Usual. Neither ZAMTEL & LAP GreenN is owned by Gadaffi. We have a lot of people that are posting comments without analyisng things. The next incoming leaders of Libya will value the Agreement.

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  17. 15 Ndajata ngombe

    You have assumed or judged me wrong. Read my comments again.

    I have no respect for dictators like Gadaffi, Mugabe, Mubarak and Museveni.

    My comments are based on doing business with Libya as a Nation in response to the author’s article

    I am one of the people that have strongly condemned & denounced Gadaffi on Lusaka Times. He has reduced his people to nothing and has over stayed in power. I also just posted some comments last week on UK Telegraph & Sunday Times portals as well, denouncing Gadaffi

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  18. If LAP GREEN is owned by the government of Libya, then all is ok. We only hope Libya does not.
    Selling off these companies was OK because ZAMBIANS were mismanaging them like fya BOMA.

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  19. Thanx to everybodu who has agreed with me. To those who disagree, I address your concerns below:

    @2 – are you sure that that ZamTel is profitable for LAPGreenN? Why did they buy it in the first place? Do you know and accept that sometimes you can do business out of ideological concerns and NOT profit? Do not underrate the feeling by the Muslims to advance into southern Africa. I have lived and worked with Arabs and I know what they want to achieve in religious terms, It is NOT to the benefit of Zambia. It is the second colonization of our country, just like the Chinese are tring to do!!
    @8 – Independent Observer. Yes I have concentrated on economicvs and investments because of two reasons; firstly beacuse that is my specialization

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  20. and secondly and the most important because this has an impact on the life iof the common man in the streets.

    @8 and 9. I am NOT in suppiort of whatebver Mandela did. Secondly, you are right that everybody did business with Gadddafi. The question is was that moral??? I am on the record saying that we should have national interests and NOT follow the others.

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  21. @ 13. The days of the Saudi royal family are numbered. The same appliues tio the Kuwaiti royal family. Therefore, do not put your eggs in that basket:)

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  22. @17. Haven’t you heard that Libya will disintegrate into two pieces?? :-w. Who will take over LAPGreen N? Is that going to be the benefit to Zambia? Think strategically and not short-sighted!!:-?

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  23. @ #23 Richard Mbewe

    Lap GreenN bought ZAMTEL for the same reasons UNITEL of Angola wanted to buy ZAMTEL. ZAMTEL was viewed as a viable business venture. To conclude that ZAMTEL was bought as an engine to advance Islamic interests in Zambia is something that will require further evidence. LAP GreenN is an investment vehicle and not a political one.

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  24. @ #26 Richard Mbewe

    Whoever will be controlling current govt assets between the two should Libya disintegrate into two pieces is the one who will control LAP GreenN. As long as ZAMTEL will be able to operate profitably then Zambia will benefit.

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  25. No one foresaw the revolutions that are currently underway in the Arab world. And if at the time Zamtel was been privatised a security analysis was done on Lybia to determin whether there was soon going to be an upheaval in Libya it was going to come out negative. These revolutions started as a consequence of an unemployed Tunisian IT graduate torching himself when he found that the Police had destroyed his store, his only source of livelihood. The people protested and it lead to the President fleeing the country. This set a domino effect which has now landed in Libya. This kind of instability was not foreseen. Once a new goverment is installed I don’t see a situation were they decide to despose off the newly aquired asset unless it is a leadership of thieves that want to get rich quick…

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  26. or a some other more profitable business is noted and they may want to concentrate their Investments in it.

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  27. Doc Richard, why worry about Muslims advancing into southern Africa. Even whites did the same and brought Christianity.

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  28. No offence but the article is very poorly written with some glaring grammatical and analytical errors.

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  29. Did our very Educated Zambians who were part of the evaluation team do a risk assessment on this investor. Certain countries in the world are considered as high risk countries and investors from such countries should be assessed professionally.A poor countries like Zambia can not risk to engage investors from such countries.
    By the way, where did the name Lap Green come from? is it from Gadaffis political book know as “the Green Book”? my God!

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  30. #2 Mr. Capitalist

    Will u be able to give the source of your information (web site/magazine) where I can check and confirm this news of 6 million muslims converting to Christianity every year?

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  31. @ 27. I am not for anybody who is foreign to buy such a strategic company like ZamTel. You mention Angola Unitel. What hapeens if Dos Santos is ousted??? By the way, he should be agiatated with events in the Maghreb region. I want Zambians, to invest in their national jewels without fporeign partcipation whether British, French, USA, German, Libyan or Angola for that matter!!! Angola was under Civil Wars in 1975 – 2005 when Savimbi died. How come these Angolans have become so rich rich and educated that they can buy assets in Zambia in form of privatization?? These are people who were considered to be more communist than us Zambians in the 1980s when we came to study in Polabd. When did we Zambians lose our position in Southern Africa as to the extent that countries we liberated

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  32. #26 Quote “@17. Haven’t you heard that Libya will disintegrate into two pieces?? :-w. Who will take over LAPGreen N? Is that going to be the benefit to Zambia? Think strategically and not short-sighted!!:-?”

    I was just about to begin my comments on the basis that Mr Mbewe is a true academician, until I saw the arrogant tone of the above comment. The mark of a true and confident academician is his willingness to soberly consider the views of others because knowledge has no monopoly. However the comment above suggests that Mr Mbewe expects everybody to just accept his article as gospel truth when in reality his analysis is patently flawed.

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  33. can govern us? What type infieriority complex amongst Zambians is this?

    Zambia – wake up and stand up proud and free!!!

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  34. @ 20 you are mising the point. What guarantee do you have that the new govt in Libya will continue the policies of Gadddafi? How intact will be LAPGreenN?

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  35. The Libyan leader had it coming. If you kill by the sword you will die by sword!This is what is happening to one of the last living dictators in Africa. Is Libya an African state? ‘African mercenaries airlifted to butcher demostrators by Gaddafi’, the world media summed up the killing of the unarmed demonstrators in Libya. Can our RB government give its postion on the uprising and killings going on in Libya? The tragedy of our continent now is that the AU is toothless.As for SADC its a mere talking shop!

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  36. @ 21 Libya is non-existent as a nation!!! Up to now Libyya = Gaddaffi. Now that Gadaffi is going, what next:? You have NOTb yet answered that question.

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  37. I fully support of the privatisation of Zambian companies.i call on the President to Outsource the Presidency & Parliament to foreign powers because Zambia got Political independence to create a lucrative & corrupt structure for politicians.Years ago it was our chiefs who sold our brothers & sisters into slavery by been given bottles of Brandy,salt, mirrors & cloth.now its political leaders.what a shame!

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  38. @29 if you analyze international economics and politics, for sure you couldn’t have asked Libya to invest in Zambia. !! This is a country that 4 years ago had just had sanctions lifted by the so called international comunnity!!! It would be crazy to ask Libya to invest in ZamTel in these circumstances!!! Zambia should have found somebody who does NOT have any distortions!! Libya should have been the last on the list!! Position number one – Zambians themselves!!

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  39. @31 You are right!! The point is that Christianity has destroyed my country, I do not want Islam to come and do the same. Let alone the Chinese!![-x

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  40. @ 32. For gramatical errors I agree because I am not an English man. Over the last 28 years, I have been using Polish language in my daily activities. But for analytical errors – mention them to me and I will respond appropriately!

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  41. @ 36. You are right my dear. But prove me wrong on the issue I have presented! On the other hand, if you have better information about Libya’s future, please correct me – that is academician approach!! NOBODY HAS GOT MONOLOLY OVER KNOWLEDGE!! That includes Dr Mbewe:)

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  42. Much depends on the political scenario that will emerge in Libya. For now we can only speculate the likely outcome ranging from an Iraqui style democracy (coalition of various tribal/religious groupings) to, worst case scenario, Libya as a failed state. Each outcome will determine the next course of action.

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  43. @ #34 marchon

    Refer to my post on #14

    @ #35 Richard Mbewe

    No one and I mean absolutely no one has stopped Zambians from investing in their own companies. Can someone tell me even one Zambian owned firm that invested in ZAMTEL?? Just one. If ZAMTEL was so precious to Zambians, why didn’t they innovate and come up with an investment fund where they pull resources from many Zambians interested in ZAMTEL and bid for the company?? No one did any of this because the truth of the matter is Zambians could not be bothered.

    What made ZAMTEL such a big issue was not the business behind it but the politics. The issue was so politicized that everyone forgot ZAMTEL was on life support. If Zambians were so concerned, why didn’t they put in any effort through actions.

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  44. We have been through the Zamtel saga and we all know why Zamtel had to be sold. Whether it should have been sold to Zambians or foreign investors has been extensively discussed and decisions made. Whether these decisions were right or wrong is another matter but it was sad to note that most comments on that saga were politically tainted, depriving ourselves the chance to meaningfully contribute to such a major decision for our country. You can see the trend of most blogs above, they already see a chance to make political capital out of the topic without so much as an intelligent analysis. I doubt that most bloggers above have read, digested or even understood the matter.

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  45. cont from #50

    Nowhere is it ZDA policy that local investors cannot bid for companies during the privatization process. ZDA accepts all bids. As for UNITEL, the Angolan govt owns the asset and not Dos Santos. It is similar to Zambia, KK left govt but ZCCM still remained with the govt because it was a govt asset. It is the same with LAP GreenN. LAP GreenN is a govt asset and not Gaddaffi’s asset. It’ll remain with the state.

    As for Angola’s new found wealth, I think you have forgotten that Angola is a major Oil and Diamond producer. With the end of the War, surely this wealth is what Angola has been riding on.

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  46. cont. from #52

    Zambians are free to invest in their country if they want to. They just have to have the will. Everyday you have INDEPENDENT OBSERVER encouraging Zambians to invest and even offering to help. This is someone who is willing to help Zambians invest in their own nation but he is bombarded with skepticism. Why should Zambia not progress simply because Zambians themselves have no will to invest in their own nation?

    If Zambians are not willing, better we bring in foreign investors to invest so Zambia can progress. Zambia’s progress should not be held at ransom simply because some Zambians are bitter about foreign investment. Kavindele is investing in NW Province. He even wants to put a university there. He has taken initiative. It is time you stepped up.

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  47. cont’d from #51, Now this article gives a lot of basic economic and geographical facts about the Middle East but it does not really provide sufficient information to enable intelligent debate on the subject matter. Also for an academic article, the author has failed to give his credentials. We can only surmise his ideological inclination from some of his responses, including his Polish education in the communist era. However, based on the little information given and the ensuing comments by the author, I will attempt to make a few comments.

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  48. @51 – wa?ya man!!

    @50 – do you homework. After the Global Financial Crisis if 2008 – 2010., the trend is to nationalize or have national institutiobs. Some of us, forecasted this and nobody listened. Now again we are telling you: keep the national jewels in Zambian hands. For the beterr and future of Zambia.

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  49. cont’d from 54, Have you read the Lap Green-Zamtel agreement? Are you aware that such agreements have legal clauses which hold the parties to the agreed terms regardless of changes in the political set up of the parties’ domicile countries? If Lap Green were to fail as a business, there is no guarantee that any other bidder for Zamtel would not fail either, be it UNITEL or something Bharti Airtel of India. There is nothing strange about businesses failing despite the best risk analysis.

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  50. cont’d from 56, As you should know, Risk analysis does not prevent failure of a business. Who would have predicted the failure of banks and other very strong financial institutions during the recent world economic crisis? Who would have predicted the financial predicament that the Republic of Ireland has found itself in to the extent that they needed a bail out of $billions from IMF and the EU?

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  51. RB sold ZAMTEL to LAPGreenN because he and his ministers took bungs to facilitate the deal. How could you sell off an asset like ZAMTEL to a Libyan (no offense to Libyans) company? why was it not advertised properly to other major players in telecommunication? why? because RB got a brown envelope for the deal.

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  52. @ #55 Richard Mbewe

    Sure but how much did it cost the tax payers to nationalize those companies?? How much is the US debt currently because of those bail-outs??

    Nationalization is a failed policy world over.

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  53. @ 55. Why don’t indegenious Zambians get involved in the privatization process? Is this OK for the Zambian economy? And its future? We don’t have millionaires or powerful companies that can do that?

    Hehehehe!! I told you NOT to privatize ZCCM but change it into a company working according to market economics. I told you NOT to sell Zanaco so that Zambian SMEs can have access to capital. I told you NOT to privatize ZamTel – within months I am proven right! Now I am telling you get back ZamTel from the Livyans, yiou are answering we with OUTDATED teachings of market economics that have failed in most countries in the last two years. Everubody (including the USA and EU) are going into state ownership of key industries!! You Zambians are still behind in privatization!! hahahahahah!

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  54. @ 56. That is what I am saying that risk analysis was niot properly conducted and that is why we have the current problem with ZamTel & LAPGreenN

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  55. @ 59 – banks are very good at nationalizing losses and very good at privatizing profits!! As Zambian intellectuals, we should NOT let our country (govt/leaderrs) fall into such tricks by Western govts. That is why I wrote this article.

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  56. We must all remember that ZAMTEL was operating on very old technology that was implemented in the 1960 & 70’s. ZAMTEL lost an opportunity to grab the Mobile Market due to lack of modern technology.

    MTN, Celtel and or these others foreign companies saw an opportunity and grabbed it , while ZAMTEL was still sleeping. LAP Green has invested $100m plus rolling out Fibre Optic Cables because they know that it is a good investment.

    We are all sitting all over the world blogging because of broadband technology and cheaper Internet Services. LAP Green is taking Zambia in that direction. We have government agencies that still use Dial Up Networking which just brings up unnecessary bills for GRZ. LAP Green Digital Technology will mean cheaper Landline & Mobile calls.

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  57. @ #60 Richard Mbewe

    You don’t have to have millionaires or powerful companies to invest in the privatization process. You can have an investment fund.

    For Example, if 100,000 Zambians had to create a fund and each invest $3,500.00, They would have $350,000,000 in cash to place a bid. This is what I am saying, if the company was that important, they would have innovated like this.

    From what I remember, ZANACO went for $25,000,000. This would mean out of 100,000 Zambians, they would each have to contribute $250 to the fund. This essentially means the percentage they would own in ZANACO would be shared amongst 100,000 Zambians.

    Plus ZANACO is more profitable than it ever was under govt, ZAMTEL is now viable, and the Mines are operating so what’s the problem?

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  58. Cont from.. 63#

    The INTERNET has become the MOST POWERFUL BUSINESS TOOL in the world. Therefore, Zambia needs to move in the 21st Century mindset.

    Among the most powerful companies in the world today are E-Commence Businesses such as AMAZON, GOOGLE, eBay, Stock Market Electronic Trading, Online Retails, Marketing, Media Airlines, Advertising ….etc.

    Let’s all try and see things from progressive way and not rubbish ourselves. All these are tools that some of us have used to start up business and accumulate the wealth we have today.

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  59. #60, you sound more like a prophet than an economic expert. Can you answer my query at 54: WHAT are your credentials?

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  60. #60, I don’t remember YOU telling us those things. Maybe I have forgotten, so please reintroduce yourself so that next time we can learn to listen to you.

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  61. Richard Mbewe
    Wish we had more of you. We have to believe that change starts from individuals propagating ideas, keep it up mate.
    It is frustrating though that we have Zambians that have lost the capacity to have self confidence.
    Best investment has to be home grown.The ignorance of some of our people is beyond comprehension. !greed !greed!,greed!————- Nothing surprising there.

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  62. 25# Richard Mbewe

    Again, if you have been reading my past comments in the last two weeks, you would know where I stand.

    I for one DO NOT believe in Royal Families such as Saudi Royal Family, Bahrain and Queen Elizabeth.
    getting free rides. My statement are all a reflection to the Author’s article.

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  63. @ 66 academic credentials: BSc and M.Sc in Chemical Engineering, PhD in Development Economics., MBA. Adjunct priofessor of internatioonal economics & strategic financial management. Chief Economist of DK NOtus a mortgage credit broker in Warsaw, Poland. Google my name and see what comes up!

    And what are yours? H.H Sata? You hide behind a phony name, while I come out in the open: My name is Richard Mbewe., born in 1963 in Ndola Zambia. My parents come from Nkhuntha village, P.O. Box 1 Petauke., Zambia. I am Nsenga by tribe! And you??

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  64. Risk analysis or not, there will always be risks, some of which may totally be unforseen. Neither privatisation or nationalisation can guarantee business success. Both sectors (privatised and nationalised) have produced successes and failures. The point i seem to get from Dr Mbewe is that zambia’s privatisation should give priority to Zambians before they advertise abroad to foreign investors. If the only objective of Zambia’s privatisation is raising money, then Dr Mbewe has a point. I, however, do not think it is just about raising money.

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  65. @ 54 yiu are right. What does the Libyan contract contain?

    @ 59 – the way privatization and markjet economics have failed. Check your current economics.

    @ 63 – 64 You are outdated!! I did that with Zambians in 2008 and guess what:L Zambnians do not have money or do not trust each other as to entrust you even with 100 US$, Therefore I have decided to go it alone!! Yes, your methiod is OK, but NOT with Zambians.

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  66. @ 67 don’t be sarcastic. Discuss with me for the benefit of Zambia. If you see anything wrnog with what I am saying, attack my writings and NOT my personality. Remember: great minds discuss ideas while shallow minds discuss personalities!!

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  67. #68, The best investment is home grown. Agreed, no doubt about that. But where you do not have capacity, you call others to join or do it for you (at a cost of course) until you develop the required capacity or skills yourself. That is how the emerging or Tiger economies have developed. This business of sitting on so called crown jewels which in reality are a (loss making) drain on our meagre resources will not take us anywhere. Have you noticed simple things like how the packaging of Zambian products has improved since the opening up of our economy? Have you noticed the refreshing quality and aesthetic beauty of some of our new buildings? Now you and I know the standards that can make Zambia find its place in the international business community, and we are heading there.

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  68. % 63 INDEPENDENCE OBSERVER… I would rather listen to you than these other chaps. U have practice what you preach. U are young & have become a millionaire in ££ in working as a City Equity & FX Trader, have invested so much in Zambia, living large in the UK and giving a lot to orphange charity in Zambia.

    I read your profile in the City AM ( London ) about a Zambian City Trader. God bless you

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  69. @ #72 Richard Mbewe

    Then we have nothing to discuss really. Zambians will not be investing in their own country (at least making big investments) because they don’t trust each other. We cannot leave a company in govt hands because it usually ends up failing (Zambia Dailymail is already in debt it cannot service) and well, foreigners are the only ones who seem serious about investing in Zambia.

    I rest my case. Have a great Sunday everyone.

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  70. #70, that is more like it, will check you out. YOU wrote an academic article inviting comments and therefore YOU need to introduce YOURSELF. I AM a blogger like many others who blog on pseudo names for various reasons. But I note that the last world financial crisis started with subprime lending, the mortgage business to my humble understanding. With such a lofty profile, would I be wrong to assume that you guys were part of the crisis or its beginnings? Did you foresee it and advise steps to prevent it?

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  71. English correction Dr Mbewe. We say ‘comprises so and so’ or ‘ composed of so and so.’
    Comprise does not carry preposition ‘of.’
    You as an academic should use correct English.

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  72. @ 78. Hahahaha!!! Some of us we saw it coming and NOBODY listened. On the other hand, you do not cut the tree bnranch on which you are sitting.!!!
    To be serious: I warned the Polish community of the upcoming mortgage distress (you can find that on Polish comments on the internet) and yet nobody listened. The same applies to what we are discussing today: don’t say I didn’t blow the trumpet about ZamTel! Yet many people are NOT listening including the govt. hahahahaha!!

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  73. #72, so Professor, how do you rubbish a contract that you have not seen? Shouldn’t you have been asking questions rather than making conclusions and trying to provide answers to questions that you do not know?
    Zamtel workers, I advise you to sleep well, your government will ably address any issues that may arise as a result of these normal world economic and political dynamics. Your Government and Zambia in general has enough experts within the country to resolve this matter should it become a matter of concern. Where necessary Consultants can be engaged. For now relax, good night everyone.

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  74. @ 81. H.H Sata. I am NOT rubbishing anything, the least of which a contract I haver NOT read!! I just asked questions and WARNED of the dangers. Based on my article the government would go ahead to check the issues I have raised. In the end Zambia benefits. I am just a whistle-blower!!

    Mr H.H,. Sata yiou have NOT answered nmy question – who are you? I answered yours as to whom I am. :-)

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  75. #83, for the second part of your question refer to #78. For the first part I quote from your article “Had the Zambian government undertaken appropriate assessment LAPGreenN, surely they would have come up with information that there is a possible threat to this investment exhibited by a change in the political situation in Libya. This should have been proved and counter-checked by Zambian intelligence security reports from Libya, as to how long the Gaddafi regime was going to hold on to power. Now it is time to protect our national interests by our not further losing control over such a strategic company.”

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  76. Iwe H.H. Sata! Please answer Dr. Mbewe‘s questions @70! Who are you? Where did you go to school? Where and what are you doing now? I happen to know Dr. Mbewe personally. He is an intellectual and very passionate about world economics. A lot of his policies have successfully been implemented in Poland and eastern Europe! H.H. Sata debate with points maan!
    Ba m’dala ba Mbewe, what’s your email address? I would like to visit you and continue this debate in Warszawa while drinking indifayi?

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  77. @84: that is NOT saying the Zambian govt must have listened to me. I am simply saying they had the appropriate information, yet they took a risky decision!! The consequencxes of this deciion have got long-term consequences.

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  78. H.H Sata 78#

    You are correct!!

    The Credit Crunch came about due to Sub Prime Mortgages. US Investments Banks had given many loans to poor people that could not afford to bay back. A lot of Asset, Management, Hedge Funds & Retail Banks had pumped investment billions into these schemes.

    Then, these Investment Banks like CitiGroup sold these contracts as Credit Derivates/ Credit Swaps/ Credit Defaults to insurances companies while keeping the Books in house because they anticipated payments to default.

    When everything started going down we saw Insurance Giants like AIG, Mortgage Companies like Fred Mac and Investment Banks like CitiGroup get bailed out by US Government.

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  79. who says either Gadaffi there or not business will continue learn from the past chiluba when came in power what happened to zcbc, ubz, mines, mwinilunga cannery,mungu factory, kapiri glass factory,mwands battery. so reflect beofe giving different view.**==

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  80. cont.. from 89#

    As a result of this, Banks were cash trapped and ended up not having enough money to run their operations such as giving out loans or mortgages. That said those Traders that put BETS against this MARKET TREND made their fortunes while the world was financially was crumbling down.

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  81. Interesting article indeed!
    Actually most of the investments by the Libyan government are owned by Gadaffi and his children. Once Gdaffi is booted out many of the businesses including those outside Libya will take an interesting trajectory. As for Zamtel, i guess somebody is saying i wish i listened! God has his own way of turning things around. Good luck to the people of Libya!

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  82. 90# Richard Mbewe

    If you are asking me to give my Biography on this blog like yours on 70#, then
    Sorry, I CANNOT do that.

    If you want to know what I do, then herewith: I work as City Trader, specialising in products such as;

    FX Derivates || Money Markets || Equities || Hybrids || Foreign Exchange
    Fixed Income || Credit Derivates || Commodities || Interest Rates Derivates

    Among the clients on my portfolio are:
    Banks. || Asset Managers ||| Insures || Prime Brokers || Energy Traders
    Liquidity Providers || Hedge Funds || Corporates

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  83. All economists are like lawyers; they have answers to every question! This is exactly what I see in many of the arguments here.

    BUT FOR SURE, THE DECISION TO SALE OFF ZAMTEL TO LAP GreeN MUST BE GIVING SOME PEOPLE IN RUPIAH’S GOVT SOME SLEEPLESS NIGHTS. The day to explain their dealings with some of these despotic maniacs in the Arab world is approaching fast. Don’t forget, the same RB had some very opaque deals with Mubarak’s Egypt. I don’t think new govts in these countries will be so willing to keep business secrets for their former regimes. I can assure you, we are yet to learn the all truth about all these secret deals “RB & SONS, Inc” has committed Zambians to.

    Dora Siliya must be worried sick. Sata is coming, and heads will roll………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  84. I am very sure RB was behind the sale of lapgreen. This infor will soon come out. This man is too corrupt I have no doubt about that. He is a tyranny just like the friend gardafi. I wish they all fall together.

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  85. Dr.Mbewe with due respect to your research and writting skilling, i beg to differ with you on the fact that you have written an article other blogers have agreed with you while other from another school of thought have flatly disagreed with you as you seen and responded above,my problem is since you are the writer of the article it would have been very clever of you to just read comments from both sides of the coin.I do no want to believe that you know everything or rather possess divine knowledge on every subject just because of your qualifications, there many other people who have read and researched differently from you.If i were you i would just be adding knowledge to knowledge over a glass of wine without feeling undermined.Zam Tel was sold in the interest of the country ,period.

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  86. Dr Mbewe your analytical errors blurr some lines:Egypt has never been part of the Maghreb,Syria politically is not in the Arabian peninsular,majority of products in international trade do not flow through the suez-its transatlantic between Europe to North America & East Asia through pacific to North America.

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  87. #85 CHAPANSWA, use your intellect man, don’t be overwhelmed by other people’s arguments, it’s just their side of the story. For me, I saw serious flaws in the article, and looking down upon fellow Zambians doesn’t help the author. Many Zambians are now very well exposed. I have lots of confidence in myself and I can debate with the best, not because I possess high qualifications but because my experience has taught me that even the best are not infallible, i.e. they do have monopoly over knowledge as you can see from the tone of the professor.

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  88. Yaya – Correction, Zamtel was sold in the interest of RBish and hot dola period. You start by correcting Dr Mbewe to give two sides of the story but you end up with a position.
    Mr Capitalist- Lap green is state owned. In Libya state is the exactly the same as Gaddafi. Therefore, Lap green is Gaddafi and his sons own.
    Dr Mbewe, you are spot on, what happens next with investment from a tyranny, worse than Hitler or Mussolini. And come to think of it, RBish is a bedmate with this low life called Gadafi. No wonder he is a friend to Chiluba, birds of the same feathers flock together.

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  89. Fellow Zambians, let us demonstrate against the presence of Lap green, some money generated from so called Zamtel is funding this low life and his sons. How can Zambian money be used to finanace daylight murders. Zambians rise up against this tyranny. Let us hold a peaceful demonstration to demand that Zambai is not part of the murders in Libya.

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  90. MMD #1 supporter ,Can you prove to me and the Zambians at large that Zam Tel was sold in the interest of His Execellence The President Of The Republic of Zambia Mr.Rupiah Bwezani Banda .If indeed you can’t prove but speculations please just shutup okay! Enough of crap by some of you in the diaspora who think are the only ones who know everything .ZamTel was sold in the interest of Zambian period!

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  91. #104, ask Dora she has a bigger picture on the sale of Zamtel. Posterity will judge RB on this deal. In the meantime, my countrymen, lets prepare for a buy-back on Zamtel. Its the end of the Gaddafi boys and their wealth in the world. Lets not wait much longer,otherwise Zamtel is headed for total collapse because the promised re capitalisation is gone with the Gaddafi family.

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  92. # 77 Mr. Capitalist – 3 E’s steering economic growth is a consultant to President Banda and friend to Henry Banda, President Banda’s son, paid for counteracting Zambians bloggers, thorough propaganda.

    These are the people who were involved in the RP saga corruption. Anyway Zambia is not for sale by few individuals like you poof.

    # 104 yaya, the evidence is President Banda through the disgraced RP corruption saga, sold ZAMTEL for his interest and for his sons who brought RP in Zambia.

    If ZDA had made an independent decision without President Banda interferences and firing of the innocent heads at ZDA and transferring and later firing of the innocent Doctor MAMBWE (who opposed President Banda’s corruption) as Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Communication.

    Shame…

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  93. @2
    Mr. Capitalist – 3 E’s steering economic growth
    Now that the UN has imposed sanctions on all assets belonging to Muamar Gaddafi and his family what is the future of ZAMTEL since this guy’s sons own LAP Green the share holders of ZAMTEL. Please educate me on this

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  94. #89
    INDEPENDENT OBSERVER – Exactly this what happened in the Republic of Ireland. A good investment that went sour due to circumstsnces beyond control

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  95. Given enough time of testing level of comprehending issues, patience has proved that the thread has carried a own load of failed reasoning. As much i disagree on one point with Richard in his opinion, his article has largely been taken out of context by some lazy minds who have failed to comprehend his narraive. Richard is not saying Zamtel should not have been sold out, instead his is a point of due dilligence driven by national security concerns he thinks was not sufficient. Even that he acknowledges that he has no proof.

    1)-There is absolutely nothing wrong for distressed Zambia with Zamtel to take a Liibyan bid and sale it.

    2)- Where a contract of sale has been executed and money has changed hands in full payment, Zambia has nothing to lose is Lap Gree fails and loses.

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  96. Given enough time of testing level of comprehending issues, patience has proved that the thread has carried a load of failed reasoning heads. As much i disagree on one point with Richard in his opinion, his article has largely been taken out of context by some lazy minds who have failed to comprehend his narraive. Richard is not saying Zamtel should not have been sold out, instead his is a point of due dilligence driven by national security concerns he thinks was not sufficient. Even that he acknowledges that he has no proof.

    1)-There is absolutely nothing wrong for distressed Zambia with Zamtel to take a Liibyan bid and sale it.

    2)- Where a contract of sale has been executed and money has changed hands in full payment, Zambia has nothing to lose is Lap Gree fails and loses.

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  97. The loser would never be Zambia but Libyans if they haphazardly cut and run because not even asset stripping would give them recovery of the money spent on this investment. Zamtel is in Zambia with all its assets which it fails, GRZ can resale it to any preferred bidder.

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  98. If anything, even where current chaos turns into new political order, wise leaders know that their country’s secretive sovereign wealth fund could hold the key to any post-conflict reconstruction and future economic development. They would look out for all their assets which include lucrative stakes in Western firms.
    Certainly any change would the foundations of the politically driven fund, but again any new government desperate for funds could put the cash to good use and manage the fund from these investments more efficiently instead.

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  99. Retaining Zamtel as a loss making parastatal would have been a bad policy. With our fyabuteko mentality, we tried for many years with parastatals and we know where such policies took us. If Government has what is critical national security value under its control, what is not should never be retained.

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  100. Petty arguments! I cant believe that out of what the author has outlined one can criticize wrong spellings!
    Lets be serious guys!

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  101. #113
    Senior Citizen- WHAT CAUSED ZAMTEL not to make profit? You and I know fully well that the MMD was using ZAMTEL money for campaigns and failing to pay bills. The same thing is happening to ZESCO. Only difference is that ZESCO will cover the losses by increase the cost of units and since we have no alternative we just pay.Dont hide your head in the sand.

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  102. Richard Mbewe is a true patriot. Some characters here though you have knowledge and wealth miss the concept of protecting one’s country. You would sell us for stock on e-trade.

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  103. Here is a general rule that all Africans should learn. Investment risk assessment by nation, corporation and individual.

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  104. First, I do not think the article focuses on the central topic of Libya and investments in Africa. The background information takes much of the space and the rest are just presumptions (i.e. what if….). The best approach would have been for Dr. Mbewe to make a comparative/historically analysis about the nature of state-owned trans/national investments that collapse at home country. International business studies have a lot of such cases (with financial institutions at the centre). In every investment, there is a risk and some risks can easily be pre-determined.

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  105. The risk with LapGreen was purely on grounds that State House was highly involved (I have evidence to that effect). This overshadowed effective due diligence for ZDA. In recent months, Bharti Airtel has been frequently State House to arm-twist government in allowing it to delist from LuSE. State House forced its way by advising Bharti Airtel the decision would be supported; only to backfire. Gallant Zambians at LuSE have threatened to expose the state should under-hand tactics be used to circumvent the Act.

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  106. The Securities and Exchange Commission retracted and clarified its earlier statement that was issued in order to comply with State House instructions. In other words, Dr. Mbewe is on the right path but his arguments lack merit for effective conclusions. As a by-the- way, Dr. Mbewe has done well to reveal his personal details. He will also do well to understand the psychology of bloggers…the majority are quite shallow and would only mess up your day. Ignore them. Ruth.

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  107. Rather shallow on the Lap green part. All international investmenst have a poltical risks> Just think of all the investments that the Chinese Government has. These are all over the world> Think of the investments that the Americans have
    What kind of investigation would have revealed or predicted that the suicide of a youth in Tunsia would lead to such turmoil If there was a warning signal dont you think the Americans who have among the best inteligences systems in the world would have hedged their investments.
    And well if ZAMtel can be used to propogate islam ( which is not illegal) then so can MTN or Airtel who have far more custimers

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  108. Hey, Dora and RB ate their share. What business do you want. Business ni business. All retrenched ZAMtel workers were paid. So, so

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  109. Dr Mbewe, you are NOT an objective analyst. Kindly advise me of a country that has the tools to predict what has happened to NorthAfrica to foresee that Gadafi’s rule was not to be around for long. You seem to have had the conclusion in your mind before you did the analysis. We are all surprised at what has happened in Libya. Why didnt you PROACTIVELY give an analysis to show that GADAFI was not going to last? Don’t force an analysis to meet your hatred for the government, be objective. I am still looking for a PHD holder to give an analysis that can convince me to do a PHD. I have to be shown the knowledge gap.

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  110. The truth shall always comeout. If there was fraud, then RB and his followers must be made to face the music.

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  111. 116 Mwanawakwitu

    If you have money, then go and buy ZAMTEL or any other struggling Parastatal Organisation. Can you think of any Zambia Business Person or Consortium that could have raised money & rescued ZAMTEL.

    Why don’t you give us the Investment Risk Assessments outlines, rather that trying to sound funky for nothing. Don’t preach something that you cannot backup.

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  112. @
    Nchunga-Zakwitu
    That’s the best kind of beans. At the moment I do not have that kind of mula. Though you and I know there are Zambians with that kind of money and investment portfortlio; obstacles they will come across will be in the form of government and jealous officers at business permit allocation office. you and I know dumbu that Zambians can carry on and run companies if we could get rid of individuals from three specific regions of our country for, since the last ones just want separation from Zambia as a whole lol.

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