Entering Kitwe, the dark mound of slag that welcomes you serves as a reminder of the reliance on mining. Kitwe, Zambia’s second biggest city, is at the heart of the southern African country’s industrial history and was emblematic of the Africa Rising narrative. Copper prices have halved over the last four years, withering the promise of economic development. This commodity tumble extends further than the outcries across the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) open floor, beyond stockpiling in Chinese warehouses and listings on the FTSE100.
Across from the towering shaft of the Mopani mine, run by Glencore, Kelvin Sanga leans over his small shop counter. Stocked with vegetables, snacks and drinks, his ntemba served lunch to the masses of miners nearby. Those numbers have been shot since August. “It is going to be difficult for now,” says Sanga, “we hope they all return and things will be the same. But at this moment we are fighting.” Money from the mines underpins the informal economy and the feeling of loss reverberates across Zambia’s Copperbelt province. “We have never faced anything like this before.”
He’s right. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis Mopani slashed near 1,000 jobs – a quarter of the cuts this time around. Scratch the surface and that exposes the estimated 10 other Zambians dependent on a person in employment. “My wife has to go from house to house looking for piecework and the children cannot even attend school this year.” Peering across the road towards other vendors sat idly waiting for customers, Kelvin Sanga knows he is not the only one, “All of us were here when Mopani were in good times but how many of us will remain?”
Skeletons of half-built houses and abandoned construction sites dotted around the city echo the slowdown in activity. A feeling that has spread throughout the country. The Zambian kwacha was the worst performing currency last year for a period. Inflation has tripled in the space of 12 months and the budget deficit was double the forecast rate. “I have no idea what to set my prices at,”Anand Achna complains. His hardware store holds close ties with mining activity and he’s battling hard to maintain that, “Sometimes I’m not making a profit but I have to keep that business relationship with the mines. We have to support them during the bad times, otherwise there are others that will gladly bite the bullet.”
He’s witnessed shutters being drawn down permanently on shops along his street and is adamant not to follow the same path. His confidence remains in the copper price rebounding by 2017, “From the discussions I’ve had with the mines, Mopani specifically, when their new shafts are built they will need one-and-a-half times the work they had previously. I don’t want to be too sure though.” When the copper cycle slips down the price ladder, there’s only one way back out the shaft.
Kitwe resonates with the cyclical nature of mining. Reflections of prosperity gleam in empty store windows of incongruously modern shopping complexes, as fleets of German cars ride along tarmac, laid by Chinese contractors who flocked to Zambia a decade ago to join the commodity boom. Now that raucous optimism is changing its tone and the screeching vulnerability of a commodity-dependent economy is replacing it.
2011 - 2015
The copper market has been turbulent much of this year but has been rolling down a steady slope from the beginning of 2013. The price of the commodity has taken a slow, supply-led tumble to a half of its 2011 peak. Bobbing its head underwater over the last three quarters, copper is now gasping for breath above $5,000 a tonne, in a recent rally. That is not expected to hold later into this year, with a rapid increase in Chinese stocks adequately compensating for record lows in LME warehouses. Fears linger amongst traders of whether this stockpiling is reflective of demand – which leads to the curiosity of the market forces.
Between 2000 and 2015, China’s demand for copper grew by a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent, in spite of a decline in manufacturing and shift to a more consumer-based economy. Producers had to meet this voracious consumption and the constant investment from mining companies facilitated a supply glut, resisting price hikes – a problem faced throughout the base metals market. Since 2007, mining firms have spent over $100bn on capital expenditure, close to a tenth of which was spent on the expansion of two copper-producing ‘supermines’ in Peru and Mongolia, alone. These huge mines oversupply the market and cannot be mothballed because of the expense. Industrial metals climbed to artificially high levels in 2011 after insatiable demand from China inflated the market. But prices have since been levelling out. Frightening news to Zambia who is most exposed to this commodity slump, according to Fathom Consulting.
This is only a fraction of the problem that Africa’s second largest copper producer is facing. Zambia has been crippled by the El Niño weather pattern. Experiencing its driest rainy season in recent memory, the maize harvest was half of that in 2014. The government has been forced to dip its hand into the international market to feed the nation. This has driven up prices of the staple food mielie meal, a coarse flour used to make nshima, by close to 20 per cent. These prices not only strain the 11,000 retrenched miners and dependent workers but network of others reliant on a single income.
Zesco, the national electricity provider, has been the most affected by this barren spell, relying on hydropower for close to 95% of its power generation. Water levels at the country’s biggest hydropower plant, Kariba Dam, were sitting at half the level they were a year ago. Rolling blackouts shroud parts of the country in darkness for eight hours a day, affecting industries, schools and residents. Internet providers too are forced offline during these times of ‘load-shedding’. Part of this was due to the misuse of Kariba. The newly installed turbines at the North Bank were overrun and drained the bathtub. This has further entangled the mines’ relationship with ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party. The extractive industry receive heavily-subsidised electricity over ten-year contracts, but the government are struggling to meet this demand. First Quantum Mineral’s Sentinel mine, in the north west of Zambia, was receiving half the power supply it required, cutting production to uneconomical levels.
The operating environment has left no option but vicious cost cutting, primarily with labour. “This is definitely worse than 2009 [when the copper price fell to nearly a third of its value, over six months],” says Kapesa Sindula, a human resources advisor fired from, Mopani Copper Mines. “Then we only thought about the copper price, now there are power shortages and economic worries.” The last year has provided a unique set of circumstances and retrenched workers are the most vulnerable to this. Mopani spent a reported $33 million on retrenchment packages and workers received healthy compensation for the most part. Some of them had acquired loans from banks and are now having to pay them back; others left after years of hard labour with little to show for.
“We only know if we lose our job when they give us the letter. At this time I was working past midnight over a weekend, on the Monday I was in the office by 4.30am and I was fired the next day.” The business of laying off workers is a ruthless one and the magnitude of the job cuts has been unprecedented in scale. Embroiled in a ferocious Glencore debt reduction plan, Mopani accounted for a third of these mining job losses in Zambia. Over the next three years they are planning a $1 billion investment to upgrade their shafts and cut production costs from $6,000 a tonne to below the current copper price of under $5,000 a tonne.
President of the National Union for Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW), James Chansa, felt powerless against this rising tide at Mopani, “I reached a stage where I felt that I needed not to exist as a leader because I had failed to defend my workers. But it was a very real situation. We had no options but to agree.” He has never had to deal with anything of this gravity before. Job losses in this depression of the copper cycle have been somewhat extreme following the rush to expand workforces after the 2011 record highs of $10,100 a tonne. “We have a situation where our members will want us to negotiate and most companies have indicated to us that they are not willing to negotiate because of the situation we’re in. What am I to tell the [union] members?”
Mr Chansa struggles to find refuge in sleep. This is a fear that runs deep in parts of the community. Hardware suppliers to the mines are having to cut jobs, domestic workers are being laid off and private schools are emptying. With mining representing four tenths of government revenue, everywhere you turn, someone is affected.
Elvis Mwitwa is closer to the eye of the storm than most. He has been a First Quantum employee for the better part of fifteen years, working in their infrastructure department. He has witnessed the oh-so-good. When working in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Frontier mine, close to the Zambian border, he reminisces about the better days, “You could see it with everyone, they were happy, they were singing and whistling at work.” An unexpected Snow White reference? “After we feared in 2008 [copper dropped briefly below $3,000 a tonne], I learned to just take each day as it comes and it has got me this far.
“My ten year old asked me why I didn’t just work for the government instead of working for the mines. There is always talk about the insecurity in the mines.” Something he has almost grown to ignore because he enjoys working for them. He did until last year, at least, when he had to lay off half of his workforce; job cuts had started in August, meandering to his department last. His head slumps and he kicks the dust, “They would ask me ‘all the other departments are losing workers, what about us?’ The truth is I didn’t know.” Transparency about that subject verged on opaque. Then he was approached by his boss, “I was just given the number, ‘we need so many people, how you get rid of the rest you figure out’. They didn’t care, all they wanted was to cut the numbers down. The most difficult task I had, I would say in my time at the mines, was that decision to cut the workforce. To my boss they are just numbers but to me these are people I have a connection with.”
Since the middle of the last decade, Zambia has matched and exceeded the growth rate of the continent and most of its commodity-rich Southern African neighbours. The economy expanded at a consistently high rate as the country claimed an ever-increasing share of global copper production. Inefficiencies of the nationalised mines dissipated under private ownership and output experienced year-on-year growth for the first time since the mid-80s. As positive a picture as that paints for foreign ownership, these takeovers were mired by a fractured relationship between the country and mining companies.
Reinforced by the deep roots of structural adjustment programmes, the IMF and World Bank used their position in Zambia to accelerate the sales of the mines between 1997 and 2000. Shares from the government-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) were sold to companies like First Quantum Minerals and Anglo-American. Sustained under-investment from ZCCM had left many of its mining sites in poor condition and consequently made them high-cost operations. At a time when copper prices were sinking below $2,000 a tonne, mines began cost cutting – halving the workforce over five years.
Development agreements signed after privatisation, which outlined conditions of operation over a period of between 15 and 20 years, favoured the mines. They were exempt from paying particular taxes and employees’ pensions and provisions, as ZCCM did previously. Unemployment in the Copperbelt was 16% above the national average. Things improved and fortunes of the southern African nation soon followed the routinely upward trajectory of copper prices. First Quantum began to see significant returns on their investment in 2005 and Vedanta Resources recorded a quadruple in operating profits at Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) a year later. Foreign direct investment in the country jumped by nearly $1billion between 2006 and 2007.
Mining’s contribution to GDP was stimulated by a sky-rocketing copper price and Zambia was heralded as an example to its peers by the World Bank. The number of imported cars increased fourfold in that time and lives were enriched as residents saw growth far outstrip inflation. Satellite dishes, bringing international television channels, became ubiquitous extensions on cinder-block houses. Hugh Carruthers, FQM’s Chief Geologist in Zambia, witnessed what he saw as a premature end to the boom, “The excitement in Zambia when copper was at its height was pretty short lived, mainly because of the lack of respect for contracts as evidenced by the unilateral cancellation of the Development Agreements in 2008.”
Considering the value of incentives the mines were essentially paying no tax according to the World Bank. Pressured to spread the mineral wealth more equitably, Levy Mwanawasa’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) government repealed the development agreements when he introduced the Mines and Minerals Act 2008. “From then our stability was compromised,” Carruthers continued. “Royalty tax [paid as compensation on the extraction of minerals] increased from 0.6 to 3%, which was still manageable. But after that we experienced a more unstable fiscal regime. Post-2008 after the government didn’t honour their contract, followed by frequent amendments to the fiscal and regulatory regime, so things like finding finance became gradually more difficult for some.”
Suggestions of tax avoidance by the mines echoed around the country. Suspiciously consistent losses, meant only two of the nine major mines were being taxed on their profits, worsening their position with the public and the government. Tax collection became a priority for subsequent left-leaning Patriotic Front governments and royalty rates were pushed through the roof. “Nowhere else in the world uses royalty as a final tax,” complained a senior mining manager, who wishes to remain unnamed. “It was never going to work. The number they pulled out of thin air was entirely arbitrary and in fact punitive.”
In 2012 mining taxes accounted for a third of total taxes and was equivalent to 6.2% of GDP. That year the mining royalties increased to 6% and faith from outside investors was timid. Total FDI attributable to mining cliff-dived from nearly two thirds in 2012 to 3.4 percent the year after and halved to 1.6 percent in 2014. Tax changes were rife over the next three years as mineral royalties were chopped and changed. Investor confidence eroded with every amendment to the tax regime. The previous interpretation of VAT Rule 18, which allows mines to claim VAT on purchases made, also harmed this. The Ministry of Finance wanted the mines to demonstrate exactly where the copper was exported to if they were to claim the money back. “If we were exporting weapons grade uranium I would expect to produce an end-user certificate for the government because they need to track where that kind of equipment goes. But this is copper. This is copper!” implored the mine manager.
The government holds in the region of $600 million worth of these refunds, which are now slowly being paid back. In 2012 there was a difference in the royalty rate charged to underground and open-pit mining; the World Bank advised against it. This chipped away further at relations. “The government have been consistently unwilling to engage with us in good faith on negotiations on anything. Whether it’s the insatiable tax regime, whether it’s refunds, whether it’s electricity supply and electricity tariffs. They have a very nasty habit of abrogating the internationally recognised, legally binding agreements.
“They should be going easy on the mines, realising that we are the cow to be milked. But if they’re not careful they’re gonna kill that cow. It’s almost as though they’re striking the matches to light the braai so they can barbecue the cow. They’ll have a great barbecue but they’ll have nothing to milk at the end of it.” Toxicities between the two lie in a mistrust, corroding an industry that has witnessed $12.5 billion worth of investment in the last decade. Realising this importance, they no longer want to see the mines as “adversaries” says president of the Chamber of Mines, Nathan Chishimba.
“I think we have a very constructive relationship [with the government] at the moment. I think more so than ever before, considering the current low-price environment,” explains Chishimba. “We don’t think we had differences with the government, we had a less than desirable understanding of what was basically the same problem.” He believes the exponential scale of job losses triggered their current compliance, making the government better manage their ‘mismatched’ financial expectations over a mining cycle.
He attributes some of the policy inconsistency to this mismatch but believes they are now reading from the same hymn sheet. Following export declines of about 27 percent late last year dialogue between the public and private sector opened, reflected in the new tax regime to be implemented on the 1st of April this year. “If the current attitude continues, it bodes well for investor confidence. There’s a need for fresh investor confidence to bring in the next wave of development projects that will spur the mining industry going forward.” With elections in August, treatment of the mines has been especially heavily scrutinised.
Last October the Christian nation united to draw on divine intervention. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu called for a national day of prayer at time of economic volatility. The type that Zambians had forgotten about. Under Lungu’s stewardship, after his presidential by-election victory last January, the kwacha lost half of its value against the dollar, the deficit ballooned and inflation rates tripled, under tempestuous economic policy.
“The government is desperately short of cash as tax revenues dry up and the economy slows,” says John Ashbourne of Capital Economics. “Hiking interest rates was painful, but probably necessary. Inflation is still going through the roof. Better than using foreign exchange controls in an effort to peg the kwacha, in the way that Nigeria has with the naira. Letting the currency weaken and hiking rates was probably the lesser of two evils.” That evil doubled the rate of consumer price increases towards the end of last year.
Simon Kunda, who was relieved of his duties at First Quantum’s Bwana Mukuba plant in Ndola has had his purse strings knotted by this. “Last time I bought cooking oil it was K65 for 10 litres, now I went it was K150,” complained Kunda. “How are we supposed to cope? More than 100 percent increase on every commodity .” The maintenance department he worked for no longer exists so he and his mates only find odd-jobs on the basis of word-of-mouth recommendations. It was his birthday recently but was in no mood to celebrate.
State facilities are feeling the constraints of austerity measures as well, “School fees for my eldest son have gone from K650 to K900.” Kunda acquired a loan to complete the roof and plastering on his house in preparation for the rainy season, last year. The rains came little and late but the real cruelty lay in when he was retrenched, “My retrenchment package was nearly nothing because I had to pay back the loan. But now I just have to do what I can.”
Bank deposits are taking a tumble, acquiring loans at interest rates of 15.5% appeals to nobody and mining has made a negative contribution to GDP in three of the last five years. The appeal of sub-Saharan Africa as an investment opportunity is losing its shine and that is diminishing Zambia’s spending pool. Belts are being tightened but their trousers are already slipping. Climbing yields on the Eurobonds mirror the lack of faith in commodity-driven nations at present, as well as the desperation to increase spending capacity. Zambia’s external debt currently sits at close to a third of GDP.
This pessimism toward southern-African debt was highlighted when Zambia issued a $1.25 billion Eurobond last July, debuting at 9.4 percent - close to double the rate offered three years prior. Yields on that dollar bond issued in 2012 have soared above fifteen percent. Borrowing in the current economic climate has been difficult but the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) promise to haggle rates down to between three and five percent. Announcements like those made by Janet Yellen’s Federal Reserve to hike interest rates make that an especially bold claim.
Zambia sources 86 percent of its foreign exchange through mining activity and this reliance leaves it in a precarious place. Funding for imports has been bitten into but more worryingly, cash to service the increasing debt will be harder to come by. The battle against a closing foreign market has affected Kamlesh Shah. His garment manufacturing plant buys 80% of its raw materials from abroad. Fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates create instability in the market and he’s worried he’ll lose even more business. “As it is, I’ve lost 30% in demand because of retrenchments in the mines and had to retender contracts with them to give them a 25% reduction in prices.
“If I don’t get these orders [from the mines] I probably have to lay off around 40 percent of my workforce . Maybe even 70. It all has a downstream effect and we have to monitor things like fuel consumption quite closely.” A fall in demand for his distribution subsidiary is tending to that somewhat, “People don’t have the spending money anymore, and so we’re all suffering.”
Economic grievances over the last year have provided the run-up to August’s general election with a topic for debate, a weapon to attack with and a platform to build upon for political parties. For the UPND’s leader Hakainde Hichilema, commonly known as HH, it puts him in a comfortable position from a campaign stance. As a fundamentally pro-business leader he can distance himself from the fire and reprimand the government.
Hichilema’s social liberal party lost the January by-election last year, following the death of former PF leader Michael Sata, by 28,000 votes. His fourth defeat since first running in 2006. The ruling Patriotic Front government took office in 2011 – by a slightly larger margin – on a wave of populism; a force the incumbent cannot command as effectively, says Nick Branson, senior researcher at the African Research Institute. “Lungu doesn’t hold that power of populism. Sata used it very well as an opposition leader, something his successor cannot do.”
Branson believes that delivering an amended constitution earlier this year served as a distraction from the little Lungu has done, “He didn’t handle this well. I would say there’s a lot of people out gunning for Lungu who would have a good case, saying he hadn’t really delivered on very much in the very short period he’s been in office.” However, the electorate may have their focus elsewhere. “Zambians like ethnicity to be at the forefront of politics rather than a secondary factor,” he explains.
If that is the case, the dominant Bemba-speaking population will hold an important role when the country goes to the ballots. Hichilema has been accused, in extreme circumstances, of harbouring an anti-Bemba agenda. UPND’s strength in the Southern province amongst the Tonga people signifies this and its MPs are traditionally from the south. PF was born in the Copperbelt, densely populated by the Bembaphone, under an ideology of democratic socialism. It is traditionally their stronghold and the last two elections are testament to that. Being central to the commodity collapse, this doesn’t remain certain, “The decline of the economy and copper production does make one question whether they are going to be able to hold on to what would have been their core vote,” says Branson.
He remains reserved over HH’s chances because he’s somewhat of a rarity, “There are a lot of notionally pro-business parties in Africa but most of them aren’t in power. And where they are they’re countries that aren’t necessarily Anglophone, or aren’t necessarily in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region. More where the parties are national liberation movements.”
Hichilema’s UPND have gained ground in almost all provinces over two successive elections, particularly in PF strongholds like the Copperbelt and Lusaka, the capital. This year every vote will hold greater importance as parties fight to cross the new ‘50+1’ percent threshold to obtain absolute majority. Bemba-speakers have been appointed amongst the high echelons of the UPND perhaps with this in mind. Attempts by these senior party members to spread word of the business-oriented movement around the country have been disrupted by the government’s loose interpretation of the Public Order Act.
Requiring notice of public gatherings, the police have been utilised to stop UPND and other opposition party mobilisation meetings with their supporters. Instead they insist permits are required. Local media cannot exactly highlight concerns as they are merely cogs in the government machine, with a few exceptions. There have been attempts made to silence the prominent voices against the establishment, like with The Post newspaper. Reporters Without Borders ranked Zambia 113 of 180 on their press freedom index.
However, Hakainde Hichilema knows where his focus of this election is going to be. Sat on his veranda, he begins to shift the furniture around as the sunlight pours through a skylight, “Zambians have realised that there’s only one party that has a vision, that has a plan to fix the economy and that’s UPND. The economy is at the heart of why we are seeking office and achieving an economic turnaround is our flagship policy. We recognise poverty, job losses and social degradation as the cancer we have to fight.”
He speaks confidently of his chances in August, citing statistics of progression at the polls and talks about how he plans on doing things differently to the current regime. Spending cuts at the administrative level is an area he plans to address by “getting rid of the extravagance” and even flying commercially.
Under UPND stewardship the economic landscape would be a more diverse one Hichilema explains, much like the HH business portfolio. “Agriculture and tourism are under-developed. They hold substantial potential for contributing to economic growth. Agro-processing and value addition need to be developed, we can’t just focus on primary production.” However, his main area of focus will be on energy. He plans to attract further invest similar to the $22 million Sweden want to inject for renewable energy. Keen to cut levels of bureaucracy and do away with “unprecedented policy instability”, Hichilema will welcome investment from all corners, domestic and foreign.
Whoever is in power come August will have to pay more attention to the agricultural sector. It supports the livelihood of majority of the people in rural areas and, with only a quarter of Zambia’s arable land being cultivated, offers wide scope for development. This hasn’t been for want of trying. Agriculture receives by far the most help in terms of government loans, of any industry. In 2002 Zambian authorities put in place the fertiliser support programme (now FISP – Farmer Input Support Programme) aimed at lifting the 60% of people living on $1.9 a day out of extreme poverty.
Since this subsidy programme was introduced, maize production shot up from around 600,000 metric tonnes to beyond 3.35 million metric tonnes in the 2014 bumper harvest. FISP was introduced in the hope of recapitalising small-holder farmers, allowing them to graduate from its dependence over two years. But it has been riddled with administrative issues, viciously cutting efficiencies. The IMF believe agricultural gains from subsidies have contributed to only 0.3% of GDP.
“I believe we [Zambia] have 800,000 farmers who are able to work in the market,” explains Ajay Vashee, president of the Sothern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions. “The rest of them by virtue of their position, or by virtue of climatic conditions are uneconomical producers.” He believes the agricultural sector should be built on the basis of these 800,000 but fears bureaucratic bottlenecks will limit this. “We have a lot of problems in terms of licensing, exports, fights for sanitary permits, even environmental permits. More so there’s a multitude of requirement, like compliance issues, you need to deal with.”
Exports of agriculture grew 27% year-on-year and Vashee believes that there is room for expansion, “It’s a very attractive place for investment However, the biggest downside is there is a lot of policy inconsistency and policy reversals. People from abroad come in on ten/fifteen year tenures and policy needs to be tailored to that.” Zambia should aim to be part of this great global land rush to attract serious investors, doing away with three month delays in the export process.
On the subject of UPND’s plan to empower people through agricultural provisions, Vashee remains sceptical. Can the market absorb it? What weaknesses have been identified? Is there adequate storage capacity? And is there an exit clause? “That’s the true test of sustainability. If you’re helping somebody until they die then there’s no sustainability involved in your programme. So have you really empowered them?” he concludes.
Potential for economic diversification stretches further than just farming. Investment in the energy sector is relatively under-developed and is constrained by the government subsidies. Electricity is provided to the nation at nearly a third of the cost of production. Attracting investment into that market will mean power generated will have to be sold at cost-reflective tariffs to the government. “Zesco and the government are currently proposing feed-in tariffs,” says John Musakanya, researcher at the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI). “This will allow the private sector to sell electricity at rates that make economic sense for them.”
Beyond this he mentions the failure to develop other sections of the economy, “Tourism is where we have faced many challenges. For us to tap into this, we need to develop infrastructure. Our focus has been mainly on Livingstone (home of the mighty Victoria Falls).” And still, across the border, Mugabe seems to be doing a better job of it.
Zambia now has to look past a commodity-driven economic model to expand their income horizons. Without further exploration, the country currently sits on about another 60 years of metal extraction. As deep-rooted as it is in their economic identity, the nation need to look elsewhere for prosperity, as Gerrard Chilombo was forced to. Chilombo graduated from university with an engineering degree to pursue a career in the mineral industry. He even met his wife, Mwape, whilst employed at Mopani. After three years with the mines and six months into marriage, they lost it all.
Determined not to drown in self-pity, Chilombo embarked on a three day programme set up by Mopani to develop his entrepreneurial skills. “There was supposed to be about 300 people in our class but maybe only 40 of us showed up. The rest were angry at the situation.” Three weeks after retrenchment, he applied his newly acquired knowledge to address a simple situation around his home. His neighbours did not dispose of garbage properly and so he took it upon himself to change it.
The Chilombos started their garbage collection company at the beginning of this year, financed through their retrenchment packages. He started by advertising the service for two weeks whilst he recruited help and working capital. “When we began we were collecting from five houses and now that number is around 200. I hope by June it will be double that.”
“It’s now time I look away from mining,” he said. Resource endowment has been the backbone of Zambia’s economy for a century. Traditional areas of industry aren’t easily let go of but, as with many sub-Saharan countries, prospects outside this comfort zone need to be realised.