Spar Zambia to be sold off

Spar arcades
Spar arcades
Spar arcades

Innscor Africa, one of Zimbabwe’s largest conglomerates has proposed to sell off its Zambian franchise.

The company has also proposed to shed off its tourism outfit Shearwater Adventures which operates in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Bostwana.

Innscor Africa Chief Executive Officer Julian Schonken said on Wednesday during the presentation of the company’s results that he expects the selloff Spar Zambia to be concluded by end of this year.

Mr Schonken said, “Once the disposal of Zambian operations is concluded, we are essentially a Zimbabwe centric. We do need to look abroad but before we do that, we have a lot of work to do in Zimbabwe.”

“We have had too many instances of good Zimbabwean businesses ourselves included outside out in the region and really battling because educational levels are completely different, the infrastructure is not what we are used to, there is bureaucracy. So we are going to be careful about how we do business before we go to other geographies,” Mr Schonken said.


  1. Seriously, I am upset about this, did a Zimbabwean company just insult Zambia’s educational fortitude. We as Zambians need to invest in education; a failed state like Zimbabwe cannot out do us.

    Viva president Nawakwi who is having a convention.

    • Hello!! Everything is zambia is for sale. Why not just sell the whole country and share the money, and send everyone into refugee camps, this a failed state

    • The real problem is that Spar in Zim was a fourth rate supermarket which was positioned as first rate when Mark O’Donnell brought the franchise to Zambia. Unfortunately they failed to compete against Shoprite (a second rate chain in RSA masquerading as first rate in Zambia) and Game. It is time to pack and go or rebrand. The Spar in Kariba, Zim, was a rubbish store, just good for Zambezi lagers in the early 1990s. It’s now closed.

    • Indeed the last paragraph is an insult to Zambia. haven’t they milked us enough already?I believe their tax holiday is just over and its not because of our educational infrastructural reasons.

  2. The guy seems to suggest tat Zambia is primitive,!? The authority must review his comment for possible violation of protocol.

    Tats dreaming statement.

    • This is typical of Rhodies. They think too highly of themselves. No wonder Mugabe set out to sort them out in the first place and they are now all over the world. Too cantankerous.

  3. Sorry to inform you both Nzelu and Stan, but Zim is miles ahead of us when it comes to education, professionalism and work ethic. Our cousins to the South are in demand all over Africa for their skill and contribution. Denial of reality certainly will not bring the change we need.

    • I totally agree. Zimbabwe is way ahead in terms of education and work ethics. We must not deny; this is reality. All we need is to do is up the game so that our standards can be equated to those of the international level. The PF government has even worsened the situation by not paying attention to these issues. Instead, they all have concentrated on looting. There is no law and order in the country. With such conditions, a country cannot develop. We have turned wrong into right and right into wrong. For instance, corruption has been accepted as a way of life in Zambia and a way to get wealthy instantly. The example is our own so called president who more than tripled his worth in less than 12 months. Zambia has gone to the dogs and we need to liberate it.

  4. We need to change our work ethics. Most of Zambians behave as if it they have never been to school. Just walk into any bank, were it expected that most employees are ”University” graduates, there is no professionalism. They have bad customer service and are clueless. What do you expect from those working in shops/retail. Most foreign business are complaining about our work ethics.

    • totally agreeing with you. bank employees are the most unprofessional and primitive employees in zambia today. infact most lady employess in banks used bottom power to get jobs, for the guys its nepotism. its so irritating to either try to resolve an issues or receive service from a bank employee as most of them are from the maliketi. reasoning shallow.

    • @PF MPIKA CADRE and @AKASHAMBATWA, this word professionalism has been overhyped so much it sounds like the word ‘yes’. To my mind professionalism is getting everything right. That means you step out of school, shed off mediocre pass marks and aim for 100% in your attitude, your empathy, and your task mastership. Then you are moving a way towards education – education is a misapplied term confused with obeying rules and doing your homework. It is not. It begins to engage you to create stuff and uplift your surroundings, starting with your immediate. Travel to ‘professional’ environments and see what this means: prosperity all round, the weakest taken care of qualitatively, and respect for the law.

  5. This guy is foolish. How can he blame his employees for the failure of his business. If he feels they don’t have the education why didn’t he hire the caliber he’s looking for? He’s the damn one for hiring those people. His companies poor management has failed the company.

  6. Yes IT MAY SOUND LIKE an INSULT but the REALITY is OUR EDUCATION STANDARDS have been FALLING FOR SOME TIME, WORK CULTURE among the MAJORITY IS DESPICABLE! As @7 PF Mpika has, it is a GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT when you look at the BANKING SECTOR,with ICT and YOUNG GRADUATES OFFERING VERY, VERY HOPELESS SERVICE.MOST people ESPECIALLY YOUNG ONES DO NOT WANT TO WORK HARD! They only get busy when the Boss is there. The levels of financial indiscipline even in small family businesses is so huge that entrusting money in relatives to run businesses is perceived to be a gift to them! IF some one can QUIT ZAMBIA FOR ZIM this time, it means we need to REALLY WORRY THO OTHER DAY I READ THAT SPAR ZIM is CLOSING- WHICH IS WHICH??

    • @bwafyaa, we only have school. We lack education. People get into school like ducks in water and get out the same way they went in – except they can now add 1 + 1.

  7. Face facts! Zimbabwean education levels may have started falling due to a number of factors major being those of external influence! On average Zimbabweans are highly educated something enhanced with their struggle for self determination while for Zambia independence meant freedom to stay away from schools which the colonialists used to tax any family they found was not sending children above a certain age to school! For Zambia education became politicized! So whether we like it or not and amidst challenges currently faced by our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe they have not lost sight on education and working hard! Spar is going back to base because a turn for better is about to happen for country!

  8. I love Zambia but Zimbabweans out- do us in many ways. I can attest to that. As Zambians, we need to do a lot more to catch up. Education is not just about sitting in the classroom, it’s about mind development and thats the challenge we have.

    • Audrey, truly so! Education is not just sitting in a classroom. It is truly about mind development. Our education standards are bad and getting worse. The so many private Universities are not helping. It looks like they accept anyone to do Masters, First Degrees, etc. And most pass through funny appeasing of lecturers. Education is no longer competitive in Zambia.

  9. Zimbabwe has an excellent educational system. Mugabe never touched to make it bad, he made it better. A Zim Grade 12 graduate would even beat our UNZA BA graduate. ZIm guys have skills and an excellent command of English because Mugabe did not trash his schools the way the MMD and PF have done to our educational system. Zambia messed up by opting for increased private education, which is aimed at enriching the owners at the expense of the learners. The public schools in Zambia became more unmanageable due to poor management by the GRZ across the board. Our educational system is basically an incubator for more of PF-like brains, more violence, more poverty, more or Lungu-like morons, and a GRZ infested with thieves being sworn in after every election!!

    • I agree 100%. I am a Zambian who had an opportunity to go through High School and Uni in Zim. For a fact Zim education beats ours hands down, work ethic, principles of professional it and competence are still pillars of their educational system which again has suffered from factors that are not born from incompetence, lack of foresight and downright disregard of professional dignity. Melanga and Jelita! Seriously guys! We are still stuck in that colonial theater. All those workshops have just wasted tax payers money. Anyway when I returned I was shocked at the way we reason. Foolishness is accepted, dishonesty is admired and rewarded. The so called rich are untouchable and usually the perpetrators of shameful and disgraceful behaviour. Why do you really think that economic leechers and…

    • @12 Happy, vernacular may not be a problem as Zim insists on everybody learning either Shona or Ndebele as a compulsory even in International schools. FACT is we need to re-look our Education and look at NOT JUST as school but as a source of GETTING SKILLS and BUILDING CHARACTER. As others have said IT IS PATHETIC when you listen to some of these “Graduates” these days; their way of comprehending and analysing issues… and then look at the work culture everything pointing to MEDIOCRITY!!

  10. Why not make our very own Zambian brand of supermarkets rather than always bringing in foreign companies. We can do better what we need is a change of attitude and work culture.. By the way to clarify one thing the retail chain is a DUTCH company and not Zimbabwean but Innscor Africa is Zimbabwean

  11. Jokes aside, Zim is still far better than the messed up Zambia. They also have more rich Zimbos than us. What we need is a change of mindset. #Trigo, I agree with you. What we need is buy spar and turn it into a ZCBC again with better managers to compete with Shoprite.

  12. It is sad to note that inferiority complex still persists. The myth that everything is better in other countries continues to cloud peoples minds.

  13. Zimbabwe got independent in 1980! Zambia in 1964! That’s where the difference lies! Its not like the Zimbabweans are better that Zambians. Why is South Africa better than other African countries…Apartheid ended in 1994! The longer the whites stay on, the better the place!!!

    • @Nigga Nature – good observation. However, notice how Zambians become sought after as soon as they cross their borders to other progressive societies (aka the brain drain and the brain gain). For crying out loud we have an ex-Zambian who has a stint as MP in Central Europe already! It is this phenomenon in African mentality of the victim attacking you when you are actually trying to save them; they settle for their fellow charlatans and mediocres who will run their mouth more than they run their other body parts. Some of our parents stuck it out hoping things would change but we have now hit the critical mass of mediocrity where it will be hard to turn back from!

    • I agree that this is the trend and I also agree that most educated Zimbabeans have an excellent command of the English language that is why they articulate issues and ideas so well although i have found that most of them come short when it comes to performance…talk talk but little work. However, in contrast their lowly educated craft workers are brilliant.

  14. What the Spar is complaining about is their difficulty to work in the Zambian bureaucracy. It is their feeling. Interrogate them and figure out what this is all about from their perspective. This is why Zambia loses its best; we don’t bother to gather information about what we are really doing differently/slowly/badly, instead we vilify the person or business that has found it difficult to operate in our environment. Let’s do things for ourselves for once in our lives if ever. This idea of thinking ‘investors’ are the ones who will actually make us or break us is very flawed thinking. Is it so difficult to espouse leadership? To do what Botswana has been doing since they discovered diamonds and decided it was for their people? Is it? We can’t be proud of ourselves? Really?

  15. The moment we realize that not every little foreign thing is better than our local,is the time we will wake up from our slumber and take matters in our own hands.Whoever we are praising today did not get where they are today by fluke or hero worshiping NO. They had to start from somewhere with a sense of self belief not always looking for excuses or someone to blame.They also had to learn or copy from someone….that is life.They may have achieved that in a short period or better circumstances than us.But that does not mean we can not catch up with them. Eventually we will. We spent so much time fighting with them from the time of our independence at our own expense. Look at our neighbors all round Zambia how much time,resources and manpower was spent on fighting for their freedom…

  16. I hope this act will not lead to lose of jobs to our fellow Zambians. And this should be a wakeup call to all Zambians. @pf mpika cadre you are very right man, poor work ethics have to be changed.

  17. I hope this act will not lead to lose of jobs to our fellow Zambians. And this should be a wakeup call to all Zambians. @pf mpika cadre you are very right, poor work ethics have to be changed.

  18. Am not seeing any connection of buying or doing business with education here. What I see is here are business ethics, environment, types of business, and how the economy of that country is doing. People can be uneducated but if they have money, they will still buy or conduct business.

    Moreover, we have a lot of chain stores in Zambia and they all sell the same products.

    That’s my opinion.

  19. @Big J couldn’t agree more. The truth hurts, give credit where its due. The stats show that Zambia has 60% illiteracy, that’s a fact. Zimbabwe maybe a failed state, but they didn’t kill their education system. Unza is a university that has no resources but is busy charging fees. Besides work ethic in Zambia is terrible with this laissez faire attitude. So let them sell, and more to come. Zambia’s FDI has fallen 55%, that tells you that business has no confidence and investors would rather cash out, go elsewhere. Unlike us who sold our copper, Zimbabwe has never sold its natural resource.

  20. This is a scandle. Much as they have the right to sell the company, these guys have been selling to a newly formed company every 5years at which time their tax holiday expires. So the company which will buy the franchise will be their except under a new name. We are being raped in broad day light while we look.

  21. every african country that got independent in the 1960s has poor infrastructure, because, by then its population had no doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. in short it had uneducated people.

    talk of zim! that country was developed, largely , by the profits from the mining activities from the zambian mines on the copperbelt. during the federation of rhodesia & nyasaland the musungu chose to settle permanently in zim hence that development anyone in zim can brag about.

    its not the zambian people’s fault. without pink muzungu coming to africa, all african countries or all regions in africa could have been at the same level, mud houses with a thatch roof, drinking untreated water from a river or well, etc.
    what can an uneducated zimbabwean do that a zambian at the same level can not do?…

  22. A failed state is a result of people having failed. If you cloud your mind with failure you will reap failure. In police language they would be called COMPLAINANT.

  23. Any businessman knows environments are different. How is shoprite managing in the same environment. Just say you have no capacity and then go and get paid in coupons across the Zambezi instead of insulting your neighbour on the way out of his house because you have failed to sell him something. Ridiculous Zimbabwean!!!

    • @27 Mwe bantu..SOMEHOW TRUE since they have been for close if not over 20 years! HOWEVER, they have raised IMPORTANT POINTS to learn from!!Our WORK CULTURE and EDUCATION SYSTEM need to SERIOUS IMPROVED so that we can be competitive. REGIONAL INTEGRATION is bringing serious competition for investment and IF WE ARE NOT CAREFUL WE MAY FAIL TO ATTRACT SERIOUS INVESTORS due to POOR WORK ETHIC and EDUCATION STANDARDS. We may just be ending up with supermarkets! Just check the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZAMBIAN and ZIMBABWEAN ARTISAN or HOTEL WORKERS- MILES APART,ZIM WAY AHEAD in WORK ETHIC and QUALITY OF SERVICE!!

  24. Simple question 25 years after market liberalisation(didnt want to say since independence), how many Zambian businesses are local franchises, spread into the region, or being sought after by big chains? How many are big employers (+2000) of our people?

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