For those of us based in the UK, we had the pleasure of seeing Zambia heavily featured in the Telegraph newspaper this month. An article that proudly showcased the visual beauty that is Zambia and the huge economic potential that our homeland is gaining recognition for.
Potential… is it just me, or does Zambia just always seem to have “potential”?
The Telegraph article was extolling the untapped value that is Zambia. Highlighting the areas we know, tourism travel and great people, as well as that age-old story we hear about how peaceful a nation we are. But this time there was also a significantly stronger message around how Zambia “is on the cusp of a new era.” Our peaceful or docile home depending on your perspective is now blossoming from infant nation to “one to watch” and people are beginning to really dialogue about how there really is “Gold in them there hills”.
It’s funny how it takes other people pointing out the worth of something before we ourselves acknowledge that value. Zambia’s potential has been touted from its independence days when it was derived from the then infantile copper and tourism industries. These two, without doubt, have been the areas where potential has undoubtedly turned to revenue, but for some reason, us Zambian natives who know whats at the heart of the real Zambia still cant recognise and take advantage of what Zambia has to offer us! This is the one aspect that has always frustrated me about Zambians.
For example, did you know, that the Zambian government in 2006 set an objective of becoming “A Prosperous Middle Income Nation by 2030”? If you did know, then have you ever taken a moment to think about how you could directly benefit from that? How about how you could directly influence that!
For a nation of 16 million people to have middle-income status, my only thought is… where will they live? what housing infrastructure exists to support this? None? Poor?… So who is going to do something about that?
The vision also outlined the following challenges that exist in term of achieving this goal
Establishing new infrastructure and refurbishing and maintaining existing ones;
Encouraging foreign direct investment in productive sectors with a view of entrenching the knowledge and technology among the local peoples;
Improving access to capital by nationals for investment needs;
Develop and maintain productive and social infrastructure and services such as roads; storage facilities, rail network, energy, communications systems, education, training and health facilities, public utilities and other services;
Imagine if you took on the charge to help deal with just one of the above obstacles. What could you do that would turn this obstacle into an opportunity? For me, the middle class will need housing, and I’m not talking about lavish homes, I mean a standard 2 or 3 bedroom family home, that came with a small yard and lots of community potential.
Can you imagine in 12 years having your own property or a portfolio of properties in Zambia that housed, or provided a service to these middle-income families? As a middle-income homeowner or renter, what would you be looking for in a home? What would you need? What would you now be willing to pay for with you middle-income wage?
All I wanted to do with this article is plant that seed in you and see what germinates. If you want to share your thoughts or discuss your ideas why don’t you drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine if your small thought could become revenue by 2030!
Let’s not wait for foreign-investment to build our nation. I want to see us begin to do the little we can do and create wealth FOR Zambians BY Zambians.