Raw materials could unlock Zambian development
Zambia has strong potential for broad-based development because of its rich natural resources, said Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa Gunter Nooke last week when he paid a visit to the offices of Copperbelt permanent secretary Reverend Howard Sikwela.
“Germany is very interested in Zambia,” said Nooke during the meeting. “I am very much interested in understanding the potential that Zambia has.”
The need to focus on local communities
Nooke added that his country is interested in how the materials can be used to encourage widespread development. “The use of raw materials in Africa, especially here in Zambia, which is really very rich in raw materials, how can it be used for the development of this country? What is the impact for the ordinary people on the ground? It is not about big business and what the government and the CEO have agreed, it’s much more about who has been affected by mining. African countries like Zambia have great potential to use their natural resources and develop their own country,” he said.
Facing the pros and cons of mining
Nooke added, “The civil societies should raise awareness on mining. Mining is a very big business and has great impact for the entire region and civil societies have to talk about issues that are affecting people.
“We have to be realistic; what can be done and how you can we use the raw materials, it is a very complex issue. So I will engage everyone, the central government in Lusaka, the councils, civil society organisations and the churches. They can all work together and have discussions publicly to talk about the positives and negatives of such big investment,” he said.
Speaking in agreement, Rev. Sikwela said, “When big investors come to invest, they create things like pollution and it is the ordinary people that suffer. Yes there is need for people to speak out. We appreciate what the mines are doing and what they have, but if investment is not changing the lives of ordinary people, then, it is as good as not having it at all,” said.
Bread basket potential
Nooke voiced his view that one of Zambia’s key resources is its rich and extensive land. He said the land holds massive potential for agriculture and food production.
Rev. Sikwela was once again in agreement, saying he sees his country as a potential bread basket of Southern Africa.