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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Zambia No Longer Leading Investment Destination In Africa Following Disputed Vote

Headlines Zambia No Longer Leading Investment Destination In Africa Following Disputed Vote

President Lungu with First Lady Esther Lungu
President Lungu with First Lady Esther Lungu

A few days ago Africa’s second largest copper producer, Zambia, voted for a new president. The election pitted the representative of the status quo against an opposition candidate, Hakainde Hichilema, who has contested five times in the past ten years. With electorates across the globe opting for outsiders over the political elite thus far in 2016, many thought this would be the year for Zambia as well. Indeed, as early results from various constituencies rolled in, Hichilema appeared to have taken a comfortable lead. However, on Monday night, current President Edgar Lungu allegedly pulled ahead in the count, and was shortly thereafter declared the election winner.

What makes this election important is that the country bases its entire economy on one commodity and as a result has suffered badly in recent years. In 2015 GDP growth was down to 5.2% from 7.1% in the previous year; however, interest rates are at an all-time high of 15.5%. Inflation in June 2016 was down ever so slightly from the month before but still at over 20%. A staggering 25% youth unemployment rate has created further anguish.

So, in the light of these statistics, this election was crucial to the direction the country will take. As theFinancial Times reported in an article titled, “Ailing economy dominates Zambian election,” the electorate had a choice between “a populist incumbent championing social programs and a business-minded opposition leader who has pledged to fix the economy.” Well to me that statement is an eye opener because a country that is in dire trouble cannot afford funding for new social programs. Alternatively, building and diversifying the economy should be of paramount importance.

Mr. Lungu, the incumbent, ran on the current government’s infrastructure projects and as the Financial Times puts it again, “huge public sector wage increases approved.” Can anyone say buying votes? Well I think you know which side I would come down on, and I had hoped the majority of Zambia’s electorate agreed. Unfortunately they voted in favor of freebies rather than their future, in an election that appears to be tainted. What a shame. The country, the seventh largest investment destination in Africa in 2015, needs to expand its economy, not handouts.

Copper prices have been trading recently in a very narrow range in spite of strong Chinese demand for the commodity. China is responsible for about 45% of all copper produced globally, and there are predictions that prices will rise steadily over the next year as demand increases. Though recently Goldman Sachs has been of the opposite opinion stating that as demand rises, copper from places like Zambia will hit the market creating an oversupply and thereby driving down the price. We shall see. But what it does show is that if nothing else, a bout of volatility may soon be on the horizon.

So is there money to be made? Well there is the old standby (COPX) which is up 47% YTD, but I would draw the investors’ attention to Teck Resources (TCK), which is up a staggering 317% YTD. What accounts for this dramatic rise in the price of the stock? It’s not copper as one would think, but steel making coal, which is beginning to see a positive turn around. Teck, as the number one producer in North America and second largest exporter of that commodity, would be well positioned to take advantage of an increase in growth in the developing world driven primarily by the low cost of oil.

However, Zambia’s economic future is now very much in doubt. With 60% of the population living below the poverty line and a slowing economy, a country hailed by many as having a stable democracy may have a hole to climb out of before it can once gain attract meaningful FDI.

Peter Kohli is the CEO of emerging market specialist DMS Funds.

58 COMMENTS

  1. Exactly what you get for voting in clueless and vision less lungu. Oh if anything the chap cheated his way to presidency . Hold tight because things will get worse

    • It is true that “I have no vision for this country” only dancing to Dununa reverse and Jameson intoxication lamented Wrungu.
      Stealing democracy by this chakolwa, load shedding is back. Kikiki.

    • Anamichita kanthu lungu . . . .learnt the hard way never to take dranks for child play
      Lungu until 2099 hahahah

    • As the UN to find you a no man’s land and collude there on. Take with you all privatization agents and use tribal cadres as your guinea pigs. Remember to take Depak Patel, Martha Mushimbe privatization lawyer, GBV, Scott, Masebo, Maureen, Miless Sampa, Never Mumba and all unpatriotic moles. We have more than enough educated patriotic economics to join a panel of think tanks. FYI, Obama is a lawyer not an economist. Kenyatta is a Political Scientist not economist, Reagan was a sociologist not an economist, Bill Clinton was a lawyer not economist.

    • I mean, You “Ask” the UN to find you a no man’s land where you all can migrate to and form a country of useful .i.d.i.o.t.s user friendly to these economic hitmen. They’re disappointed having shredded their campaign finance only to get a funeral and whinnying sore losers. Zambiams have moved on. Unflinching supporting Lungu even economic times of expert need. We went to same scools as these manipulators. They are no better.

  2. This is cheap propaganda against Zambians who voted for PF. The author and his suppliers of information believe that the economic challenges Zambia is facing are unique compared to what other economies are experiencing world over. The author says Zambia’s economy is commodity dependence and the decline of commodity prices on the international market has affected the economy but he then makes another statement that contradicts his earlier one that Zambians elected freebies instead of their future. What is our future? HH? or what? Shame on the author who does not understand world economics. Are there no economists in South Africa, Malawi, Botswana (who is asking for food from Zambia), Nigeria etc. HH can just contribute but has no capacity to solve all the economic challenges Zambia is…

    • JUST WAIT AND SEE YOU KA CHAKOLWA DOMINON.THINGS WILL BE WORSE.YOU WILL EVEN BE FAILING TO BUY BUNDLES FOR BLOGGING…VIVA UPND

  3. Peter Kholi; I am sorry your friends didn’t win the elections, and I am sorry to inform you that hundreds of investors are now about to descend onto the Zambian soil to invest in the grossly untapped mineral-wealth that God has so abundantly given to mother-Zambia. Agriculture is another area because we have so much vast land and lots of water from our rivers. Please stop writing these adverse, and negative articles. Keep your opinion to yourself.

    • Those minerals should stay in the ground till sensible people are in-charge. Better yet, until we can extract and process them ourselves. Copper is not infinite and the day it runs out will be something else. We need people with foresight to make bold and correct choices. Not people who cant see past next week.

  4. Peter Kohli, if HH borrowed some campaign money and promised you something in return when he wins, then go and settle with him rather than coming up with a biased article.

  5. The one who wrote this article is VERY DULL. What kind of survey has been done barely 3 days after announcement of election results, to justify that Zambia’s investment rating has dwindled? Just keep your lousy perceptions to yourself.

  6. Peter Kholi you forget the low oil prices world wide the economic crunch, brexit…etc yes you didn’t want continuity in Zambia but stability sometime comes at a price…if HH had come to power he would have arrested all his perceived opponents, allowed anarchy on the roads by disbanding ratsa, fired all the defence chiefs, dismantle the ecz, sent the entire 6 provinces who didn’t vote for him to Tibet…..so yes we voted for sanity and that you must live with….they need 12 lawyers to argue what they told us is a straight forward case but,we don’t need the constitutional court to tell us who won…we have inked fingers as proof to show we made a choice at the ballot box…we voted for ECL…his cabinet will be different the shackles of Sata left on their own including his imbecile…

    • upnd ITS TIME FOR YOU TO CRY==== Who cares . . .For majority Zambians PF and Lungu won hands down. You are allowed to cry but it has to stop soon because we will force you to stop crying after 1 week.
      Life must go on!

  7. UPND is a failed project. Back to drawing board. See U in 2021 meanwhile continue your satanic crying and gnashing of teeth.
    Don’t worry In 2021 u will win by -109% on ZWD and MUVI tv as prophesied ed by Dr Simutanyi (Phd in tonga wining predictions)

  8. Peter Kohli, being an investment mathematician does not give you the right to demean our governance system by suggesting that only one person can fix the economy, all your assumptions are illplaced. The truth is that HH lost because he is not a leader, and to claim that he was going to fix the economy of the country single- handedly is a pipedream. If HH were to win the elections this country was going to revolt and many lives would have been lost, especially in Lusaka and Copperbelt. So be very very careful with what you say, more so being an alien. On the other hand, if HH borrowed money from you, hard luck.

  9. Temporary set back.

    Soon we shall reclaim our spot.

    See what happened to the British Pound following Brexit.

    This is not unique to us.

  10. *****, stupid mathematician, how do you make a conclusion on one data point, stupid and frustrated alarmist.

  11. A mind-opening article to those with a mind and vision to think ahead for the sake of the next generation. This brings to mind the meaning to the story of slowly boiling a frog to death.

    “ The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is put in cold water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will NOT perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that rise gradually.”

    When mediocrity is slowly introduced into a County, the frog analogy comes true. Never underestimate vision-less citizens in large numbers.

  12. For some it was a game about their tribesman/region-mate winning.
    For others a game about someone who’ll maintain/secure a source of tenders/allowances/salary.

    Yet for some of us it’s a death of what we sacrificed for our entire lives to achieve:-

    – Press Freedom – No more independent newspaper. DeadNBC is reaching new frontiers of bias.
    – Return of this snake called IMF
    – Increase of National Debt – PF has just got $1.9Billion debt from IMF.
    – Open Tribalism
    – Violent youths
    – No more rule of law. Lungu doesnt respect/read/know the law in spite of him being a lawyer
    – Death of democracy. ECZ’s credibility has become very questionable
    – Bleak economic future with no clear vision to industrialize our nation & reduce independence of copper
    – No investor confidence due to…

  13. All the negative thinking will not prevail. We voted for an individual ,we are relate to and that is Mr.Lungu. His a credible humble man who is not afraid to show people that his not SUPERMAN with incredible abilities to change the nation over night and also his not afraid to be judged, which is why he told you the first time when came into power(After President Sata’s Death) that he did not have a VISION. Such Honesty is rare to find , but most people perceived that as a sign of weakness, when in fact its a sign of inner strength and Humility. Therefore God assisted him find a vision. Investors are coming. Watch this space!!!!!!! INTELLIGENCE AND WEALTH WITHOUT HUMILITY IS DANGEROUS AND ONLY LEADS TO FAILURE.. Humble your self first then maybe God will UPLIFT YOU.

  14. Mr. Peter Kohli, your article is misplaced, who between president Lungu and Mr. HH was promising free everything starting with University education to laser blades? HH promised cheaper fuel, cheaper mealie meal, free drugs, free, free, free everything, meaning subsidies. You have audacity to say people voted in favor of freebies rather than their future, what a scam.

  15. HH lost because he chose GBM who has a bad character and wants to go in government for his personal business. HH is not humbleand uses vulgar language. Zambians don’t want pompous leaders.

  16. The problem is that Zambian mnes are not run by the State – they are not managed by the State therefore the profits are taken by those who run the mines and manage them. Zambia is just a front. It is like marrying a beautiful woman who is serviced by your rich landlord and bears his kids and the kids are not your own….! Zambia economy is dead beoz is if F***KED UP

  17. Meant to say an individual we are familiar with and we can relate too. That is Mr. Lungu. Mr.HH you have a lot to offer , maybe should build some schools,clinics or any remarkable structure . Or Maybe just share some Economic ideas (Intellectual Property )from the WORLD NUMBER UNIVERSITY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY or maybe it LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS I believe that is were you got your degrees , Since we are all Zambian. Do it as a form of CHARITY without perceiving it as helping the ruling government or PF supporters. I have also not heard that You and your high profile intellectuals are relocating to an ISLAND off the coast of BAHAMAS. Meaning that we are still in the same country that you say is so messed up and inhabitable. Please get over your selves….

  18. Peter Kohli, ni Zambia ya nyoko? Please, leave us alone, we voted for Lungu, he is our choice, full stop. We do not need your empty article.

  19. Devils lost and now they have started propaganda. Tieni uko. Leave zambia alone. Again in 2021 tukamilopwesha. In fact registration of voters in our strongholds should start now

  20. All the Turkeys that voted for Christmas and are commenting negatively on this article have completely missed the point.

    This was not written for Zambians. It was targeted at people with money to invest in the wider financial world. And wether the authors opinions are correct or not is irrelevant. This is how outsiders see us and how much confidence can be placed in investing in Zambia.

    • Completely Wrong, this is an opinion of one misguided individual. The world sees Zambia as a progressive democratic nation compared to none in Africa. The UN confirmed recently after the elections.

  21. Very sad reading and poor analysis based on emotions and very little facts. Clearly the author has expressed his biasness for UPND and therefore, painted a gloomy picture of Zambia. Peter Kohli assumes and makes the mistake of doing so by inferring to UPND as the popular party when infact not. The truth of the matter is if the PF strong holds turned up like the UPND strong holds, there would be no discussion of alleged stolen votes because PF would easily get 66% of the votes – ie 4 million of the 6.6 million of the registered votes.
    Back to the subject – Zambia will remain as the Investment Destination of Africa for the simple reason that we are a peaceful nation with untapped resources and well placed market for the region. Stop scaremongering

    • That is where you have it wrong. The UPND is not lobbying for an electoral victory but a re-run. Also, look at the facts, UPND fielded very poor choices in Lusaka for MPs and this hurt their performance. HH should be so hot in the head for him to attempt to petition an election result when he does not control the House. PF has just under 100 MPs!

  22. Most people do not understand. The exchange rate only responds to the price of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and nearly nothing else. Tightening of liquidity and high interest rates is not exactly a bad thing if you choose to save and invest instead of borrow.

  23. This article is lieing. We just voted and only three days thereafter. So where is this coming from? Okay, may be you can list the Companies which have left so far.

  24. This article is 100 % correct.
    U can’t do infurstructre like roads schools etc when people are starving.
    What must they eat the roads?
    Pf policies are wrong.
    Sonta where hungry people must get food.

  25. Zambians will always remain poor because they are docile, passive and backwards. They will continue in debt for this gap toothed foolish scarf wearing Lungu. These people will destroy Zambia and the Bembas will have nobody to blame but themselves. They stole the election and Zambia will suffer. Better stock up on nshima.

  26. Watermelon liars! Keep on dreeming! Hazalusa Hagain! Your source of information is the Post Newspaper, Muvi TV and those who Watch Dogs in Zambia. They are losers and tribal! They will never succeed. The serpent has been crushed and will be crushed again and again!

  27. Silly f00ls like Dave caused HH’s defeat. Ignoring the importance of having a land linked country is being totally naive about the need for geographical mobility of goods, agriculture produce, people and other resources that are required in creating a vibrate economy.
    Unless farmers can easily transport their produce (crops, animals and seeds) to the markets in good time, they cannot earn a living through farming. Unless mines can move their copper to the ports on roads they cannot mine profitably. Even traders need to transport goods on roads.
    Roads therefore are part of primary developmental infrastructures.
    No wonder you lost these elections, you never learn.

  28. Lusaka Times amazes me! When a person write a letter to the editor, they write it as if it is news! Please learn from veteran writers, go to the Zambia Daily Mail, Daily Nation, Times of Zambia and learn how to present material! Distinguish facts from fiction! Whining people will never be elected into office in Zambia! You can deceive the Southerners, the Westerners and the North-Westerners but you will never deceive independent thinkers! Keep dreaming!

  29. Peter Kohli, your fellow free mason lost and you are dangerously annoyed. Who told you that building universities, colleges, hospitals, roads, schools is not building the future?

    Those fake theories of macro stability alone without economic stimulus have already failed so please just ask EU friends. They will tell you that they are fake.

    In Zambia the people decide and they decide peacefully for non free masons to rule them.

  30. @Marie-ann, keep believing the lies! Zambia has experienced unprecedented development in the past three years. The load-shading that was experienced was addressed head on and we are seeing how visionary leaders continue to tackle challenges. We are thankful for this government for staying focused and continue to defeat naysayers and doubting Thomases. A leader who wants to lead Zambia and continues to talk negative to international organizations about Zambia does not deserve the mantle! He will never lead in Zambia! He can only do so if those who know the damage these guys do in offices with their tribal inclinations fail to vote!

    • Yes but at what cost? We used Eurobonds (loans) to fund all this, loans that will have to be paid back. We are getting anoter 1.2 billion, BILLION, dollar loan from the IMF in december. We raised the debt ceiling twice last year. Can you not see the damage this can cause. How do you think we will pay that off?

  31. “Disputed Vote” is only in your mind! In the mind of Southern, Western, and North Western guys! Mostly in the UPND cadres! Zambia is bigger than the three!

  32. Kholi is saying this in plain english: We are mad because our GAY Rights cannot be enacted in Africa’s leading Christian nation.

  33. CAN YOU WIN ELECTIONS WITH THREE PROVINCES? THESE BANTUBATOTWE ARE DULL PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY ARE KNOWN TO BE EDUCATED. VIVA PF. THE ONLY DULL UPND PARTY WHICH LOVES MUCH NEW COMERS FROM PF THAN THE TRUE UPND. THE REASON WHY UPND LOST , IT WAS PF1 VS PF2 SO THE FORMULAE WAS THE SAME 4-4-2 FORMATION, BUT PF1 WAS THE WINNING TEAM DUE TO THE EXPERIENCE THEY HAVE GAINED IN LEADERSHIP FOR THE PAST 5YEARS.

    • That’s why you stole the votes! Because this times UPND got more votes from the other provinces too! People from other provinces have seen the light, go check the real numbers before you presented PF +_1.8 million; and UPND +_1.7 million! According to your ECZ the difference is +_100,000. You stole it again in 2015 when you said the difference was 25,000. So this time you just stole more votes to steal the presidency!!!

  34. I think in Zambia we need a minimum qualification of grade 12 Certificate for people to qualify to vote. Not every jim and jack should be entitled to an opinion.

  35. If by any chance some you get a chance to travel. You will get a chance to see the world from a different perspective. Hopefully, maybe then you’d be able to make informed decisions in your house, in your town and in your country. People wait for EU, US or IMF to tell them what to do while proclaiming to the world that they are a sovereign nation. Think about it, a sovereign nation which can’t fund its own budget, its health care deliver system etc. Our young people are right now getting a raw deal. Soon we will reach a point of no return. No insults please, respect the objective perspective or disagree respectfully.

  36. It’s true! They only see the country in a two-dimensional view! And they are being taken advantage of! Some of them have never even been to other parts of the country!

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