Chinese are eying underground copper on ZAFFICO land – Chibamba
Economist Chibamba Kanyama says ZAFFICO’s imminent listing and the politics around it is because of the copper deposits under the forestry company land, not only for the prized-Mukula Tree, which is on high demand in China.
And Kanyama says some companies listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) want to leave because they feel there is little or no money on the market, a situation which he says is regrettable.
The bridges Bridges Limited founder was responding to question from a moderator who asked what more the government can do to help create the environment needed for entrepreneurs to flourish in the country.
“Two things come to mind. The first thing we discovered is that, there is not a single company, apart from the newest babies on the stock market; these are locally-owned companies raising money for micro-financing. All the others that came through the privatisation programme; these are the Zambia Sugar, SAB Miller, Lafarge…none of these want to remain on the stock market. In fact, they will tell you that; ‘your market is not deep enough, we don’t need your money’” Kanyama disclosed.
“The copper mining companies would not want to list on the stock market here because they will tell you; ‘you are not deep enough; you are too small.’ So, there is not a single company out of the 22 [on the LuSE], which wants to remain on the stock market. And for us, that is an elephant in the room; nobody wants to talk about it, but it is real.”
And when asked about government’s move to list ZAFFICO on such a shallow stock market, Kabamba could not categorically state whether he supports the move, but went on to explain that ZAFFICO’s listing and the politics around it is because of the copper deposits under the land it sits on.
He observed that the Chinese would be the most likely prospective buyers of shares in ZAFFICO, because of its copper deposits.
“On the ZAFFICO, which is a political issue now in Zambia, and because of the undertones of Chinese involvement, it sits on huge land and this is where copper deposits are. So, ZAFFICO politics is about the increasing value of this land; in other words, Zambians are not really getting the message of listing. What they think is happening is that, somebody knows what is underground and their interest is not disclosed,” Kanyama, a former ZNBC Director-General, said.
“The interest is the future value of that land; not necessarily about the forest, but the underground copper. So, the suspicions around there is about disclosure; government has not communicated sufficiently to the people. Will there be an attraction of other investors apart from the Chinese if it (ZAFFICO) is listed? No! The Chinese know more than we do, and that is what the politics is about.”
Meanwhile, Kanyama advised media practitioners in the country to look to external markets to attract additional investors in the industry.
“As long as those higher returns we are talking about in emerging markets do not register in higher per Capita Incomes, I do not see anyone investing in a media company whose market is within the domestic market, unless media companies look for markets outside there where those higher returns are registered,” said Kanyama.
Source: News Diggers