The southern African nation of Zimbabwe is a potential source of support for the landlocked country of Zambia as it seeks to fuel-up its mining industry.
The prosperous sovereign state once known as Rhodesia could deliver know-how and bring in well-needed funds for Zambia’s mining industry, just like China has.
Strategically located as a neighbour for Zambia, the fellow landlocked country of Zimbabwe is a potential export market reachable by road and rail rather than sea.
The East African country of Zambia was once one of Africa’s premier mining jurisdictions, especially for copper.
Only five years ago it was ranked 25th in the world out of 122 nations for investment attractiveness in a 2014 industry ranking produced by the Fraser Institute.
Fast forward to 2019 and Zambia’s attractiveness slipped to 45th in 2018 on a smaller list of 83 countries ranked by industry.
In contrast, Zambian neighbour Zimbabwe is open for business, according to its Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
While its ranking on the Fraser survey was 62nd, the country’s post-Mugabe resources sector is welcoming foreign investment and holds appeal as a potential export destination.
With producers set to bed up in the mining jurisdiction, imports from neighbours like Zambia could be a welcome source of production inputs.
Mining is set to grow in in Zambia, with projects regularly being commissioned there each year, especially in the nation’s Copperbelt province.
Forecasts put the size of investments in new projects in Zambia’s mining industry at US$15 billion by 2020.
Zimbabwean national trade development agency ZimTrade also reckons there are opportunities for Zambian local businesses to benefit from mining industry growth.
Zambia-the-mining-destination is welcoming support from a variety of sources, including China, albeit with what some have argued is local resistance.
Across the world, project developers face opposition from community groups despite the clear economic and social benefits of projects. In this sense, Zambian pushback is no different.
There’s a lot of value in co-operation between trading partners, whether neighbours are near or afar.
Zambia is housed near the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola and the Central African Republic and its good positioning can allow it to be a gateway to trade.
Similar relationships also need to be developed between nations throughout the continent.
Reciprocal relationships on the continent have the potential to benefit all of Africa. Let’s focus on an end-game of economic and community development and keep things moving in our mining sectors.
- Yolanda Torrisi is Chairperson of The African Mining Network and comments on African mining issues and the growing global interest in the continent. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org