Zambia has its eye on being a role player in Africa’s transformation
With an average GDP growth of 7.1 percent and as one of the most politically stable countries in Africa, it’s not surprising that Zambia is stepping forward as a worthy contender for potential investors looking to enter and/or expand operations on the continent.
Zambia has promising economic prospects and major opportunities in the following priority sectors: infrastructure, telecommunications, mining and minerals, energy and power. In addition to these, Jason Kazilimani, Senior Partner and Chief Executive at KPMG believes that Agriculture is Zambia’s “sleeping giant” that will see significant growth in the next 5-10 years – particularly in grain and cash crops.
“Agriculture will remain a key avenue for future investment and growth in Zambia. We have good weather with soils that are rich in minerals and can reap all types of food. While there is certainly a lot of “lip service” being given to the opportunities in agriculture, currently only 14 percent of Zambia’s land is being used for arable farming – whereas in fact 58 percent of Zambia’s land is suitable for agriculture. The land is significantly underused and there is huge potential to be realised. Added to this, current agricultural activity is predominantly during the rainy season between April and October, and for four months of the year there is nearly no activity. However, in Zambia we have one of the third largest water resources on the continent that incorporate a number of rivers and lakes and, with the right investments into irrigation and water infrastructure this would improve access to this resource and create opportunities for different crops to be farmed all year round.”
These were some of the pinnacle points that were raised when KPMG’s Global Africa Practice recently hosted its Senior Africa leadership team in Lusaka. The CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) for KPMG, Tony Thompson also attended the visit – using the platform to discuss expansions in Africa as well as plans for and opportunities in Zambia.
Kazilimani continues: “The visit of our senior Africa and Europe leadership was a great success and I believe has bode significant recognition and confidence with our staff, clients and stakeholders for the implementation of our Africa strategy.”
This strategy is underpinned by establishing a connected network throughout KPMG’s offices on the continent driven by a shared interest of the firm’s leadership, to inspire confidence and empower change, by providing the best support for its staff and therein delivering the best results for its clients. In recent years, KPMG has therefore invested in establishing common platforms and building internal networks, both through technological upgrades and in connecting practices like Zambia with other or larger practices, such as South Africa – with the purpose of providing its practices with access to the best and/or any specialist skills assets that may be required to provide key support on client work and deliverables.
“Creating more interconnectedness between our practices is paramount to our Africa strategy and being able to provide the right services and at the right time to our clients. And if I consider the feedback we have received following the visit by our Senior Africa leadership team, not only is it working, but its greatly appreciated by our clients,” adds Kazilimani.
Looking at regional importance – though not bordering states, South Africa and Zambia have a long standing relationship, where the growing drive for regional integration within Southern Africa continues to create more opportunities for mutually beneficial trade and intra-regional investment.
“Knowing that we have the support of our leadership Africa team who have come to Zambia and seen the economic gains from investing here and, that they will be better able to translate these opportunities to clients and potential investors, we are looking forward to a prosperous future – for our staff, our clients and our country,” concludes Kazilimani.