By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom
Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Muyeba Chikonde has called on the Zambian Business Community in the diaspora to Unite and establish a Diaspora Bond to raise capital for investment projects back home.
Speaking when he officiated at a Corporate Business Dinner held at the Hilton Hotel-Paddington that brought Zambians in UK and other Business Executives interested to do Business in Zambia together, Mr Chikonde said Zambians in the diaspora needed to deal with the issues that prevented them from working and supporting each other.
He urged the diaspora to use their network of contacts here in the UK, which is a fiscal financial hub, and Europe to access capital and technology that they can use in doing business.
“We are here to begin the conversation on renewing this commitment of working together with a common purpose of contributing to national development from the diaspora perspective. The High Commission is passionate to work hand in glove with all of you without leaving anyone behind. The mission exists because of you. We believe in transformational and servant leadership and we are at your service,” he said.
Mr Chikonde said Diasporas are rich in knowledge and experience and have access to capital that could give them an edge. He said that the entrepreneurial spirit in Zambia is high however, the lack of Capital and Technology to support business initiatives is a major hinderance to growing the private sector and yet these ingredients are available here and very few in the diaspora are taking advantage of this to invest in the country.
He suggested that Zambians in the UK and Ireland should establish an umbrella body or organization which will help create a formal structure for engagement with Government.
He furthermore, proposed that Zambians living in the United Kingdom should explore how they can establish a diaspora bond that can help to raise capital for investment projects back home.
“No one will develop Zambia but ourselves. We should not just think of doing business with government but explore the immense opportunities in agriculture and tourism as well as the financial services space” he said.
The High Commissioner said the government has introduced a Diaspora policy to promote the participation of the Diaspora in the development of the country and by working together Zambians can make a difference in their own country.
Mr Chikonde said President Edgar Chagwa Lungu continues to re-affirm Government’s resolve to diversify the economy from the dependency of Copper and boost Agriculture and industrialization to stimulate job and wealth creation adding that Government has put in place investor friendly economic policies to allow both local and foreign investors to take advantage of the many opportunities that Zambia offers.
The High Commissioner also invited other UK based companies to come and explore investment opportunities in Zambia
Invited guests including some from Belgium and Luxemburg made use of the opportunity to engage with the High Commissioner and Diplomats who accompanied him to the function, on various topics of their concerns related to doing business in Zambia.
The writer is the first Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in United Kingdom.