Business Opportunities Abound in Zambia, Says Ambassador
by Cora Jackson-Fossett
If you’re exploring international business ventures, add the Republic of Zambia to your list. Located in south-central Africa, the country offers a wealth of investment opportunities.
During a recent visit to the Los Angeles Sentinel, Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula, Zambian ambassador to the United States, outlined the possibilities for economic success in Zambia.
“We’re a small country, but truly making an impact. There are many opportunities especially in the area of energy, agriculture, construction and tourism,” said Simbyakula. “African Americans who are in business for themselves would benefit from looking at opportunities in Zambia as well.”
Unlike many African nations, Zambia has enjoyed decades of governing solidity, which the ambassador cited as an advantage for American businesses.
“Zambia has been very stable politically for the last 54 years. That’s why you don’t hear bad news [about the country)]. That’s one of our key strengths – our stability and very conducive business environment,” he noted. “There is a great opportunity for economic development.”
Zambian Robert Sichinga, Jr., a Los Angeles resident for the past 22 years, explained that the Zambian government provides ample assistance to potential investors through the country’s multi-facility economic zones. The dedicated areas feature the necessary infrastructure that allows companies to quickly start functioning as a business.
“You can actually get your company registered, literally, in 24 hours. The government has made it as easy as it can for anybody to come in and set up shop,” said Sichinga, who also serves as an extension of the office of the ambassador through his position as honorary consul and chief of post for the Republic of Zambia in California.
“Companies are allowed to externalize their profits as well. We don’t require that they hold their profits in-country, which is pretty lucrative for a company.”
Sichinga added that the business tax brackets are similar to the U.S. Also, additional incentives are available in certain industries.
“If a company wants to set up a manufacturing plant or an agriculture or tourism businesses, because those are ‘high-value areas’ so to speak, the government makes it easier to come in and invest,” he said.
Los Angeles’ connection to Zambia actually goes back to 1968 when then-Councilman Tom Bradley sponsored a motion to make Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, one of L.A.’s Sister Cities. Lusaka was the first and only African city represented in the program.
Many Zambian natives are making a name in L.A. as well. Actor Akende Munalula appeared in “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2” and USC Cinematic Arts 2018 graduate Kasuba Mukuka plans a film about Zambia. Kutula By Africana, a Zambian-owned retailer and design house at 4438 W. Slauson Blvd., produced some of the costumes for the movie, “Black Panther.”
In light of these ties, Ambassador Simbyakula hopes Black Angelenos will pursue business opportunities in Zambia and also include the country in their vacation plans.
“We want the people of L.A. and Lusaka [to] exchange cultural visits, especially African Americans. We have the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders in the world,” said Simbyakula. “Come and visit your ancestral home!”
To learn more about doing business in Zambia, visit zambianembassy.org.