Zambia recorded its lowest investment pledges in recent history when it received a meagre US$1.1 billion in the first six months of the year.
The country recorded US$3.6 billion investment pledges over the same period in 2014.
Zambia Development Agency Director General Patrick Chisanga who revealed the development during a media briefing in Lusaka Tuesday morning blamed the low investor appetite on the January 20 presidential election.
Zambia held a tightly presidential election on January 20 which saw Edgar Lungu elected President following the death of President Michael Sata.
“We recorded US$3.6 billion in investment pledges in the first half of 2014 but we have seen a reduced in 2015 over the same period, we received US$1.1 billion since the start of the year. This reduction can be attributed in part to the presidential election activities we had in January right through to February and normally, investors in any country particularly in Africa want to step back,” Mr Chisanga said.
He added, “The good news is that we have started receiving more inquiries from potential investors and we are hopeful that the figure will improve.”
And Mr Chisanga has revealed that Dangote Cement Zambia is keen on developing a second cement plant in the Chongwe area of Lusaka province after commission the US$400 million Masaiti plant in Ndola rural.
He said the new plant whose planned investment cost has not been disclosed will further help lower the cost of cement which has been reducing since Dangote started flooding the Zambian market with its cement products.
“Many of you have seen the impact of that investment on the Zambian market, the price of cement has reduced from an average of K 82 to somewhere around K62. Those are some of the benefits of investment in key sectors of the economy. To ease the cost of doing business and improve the standards of living for our people,” Mr Chisanga said.
Mr Chisanga also revealed that an additional 460 megawatts of power will be put on stream once ongoing projects are completed by December 2015.
He said the agency is confident that the amount of load shedding will significantly reduce once the projects being developed are completed.
“We have concretised for projects which we hope will come on stream by December this year the Maamba thermal plant being developed by Nava Bharat and ZCCM-IH, this will add 130 MW, the second is the Itezhi Tezhi hydro power plant which will generate 120 MW and will also have the Kabompo hydro power station by CEC which will contribute 40 MW,” Mr Chisanga said.
And on the impact of ongoing load shedding on investor confidence, Mr Chisanga said investors are sympathetic to the situation and are confident that the situation will normalise.
He also dispelled assertion that the increased load shedding is due to corruption and inefficiency at ZESCO but that load shedding is affecting the entire region due to low water in the water bodies.