Last updated on February 18, 2012
It is interesting to note that there is growing interest for the Zambian government to partner with Diaspora Zambians as a vehicle to promote development in Zambia . Over the last many weeks there has been a flurry of ideas exchanged through e-mails on this online forum. All the ideas now seem to be headed toward metamorphosing into what is being dubbed as Zambiadiasporainvest. But how far is this idea envisaged to go? Should we expect it to take or assume a form similar to that of the Zambia First Investment Fund (ZFIF)? If the idea of Zambiadiasporainvest is going to bear any semblance to the ZFIF, we must be careful to ensure that people don’t see us as merely peddling a duplicate effort.
As Zambians, we are never short of ideas as to how much we can do and want to do and want to achieve. The forum that, for weeks, had gripped and gotten many Diaspora Zambians involved in the exchange of ideas is a paragon of such limitless capacity to generate ideas that are not short of being plausible.
The Zambiadisporainvest is undoubtedly another good idea emanating from the interaction of many Zambians in the Diaspora that have similar vision and desire to see Zambia leap forward and attain some degree of development. Doesn’t this remind us of the Zambia First Investment Fund that was mooted in the fall of 2008 by two Zambians in the Diaspora; one in Poland (Dr. Richard Mbewe) and another in the USA (James Mwape). The ZFIF has been online for three months now, the question that comes to mind is “What will guarantee the success of any one of the two investment ideas? The ZFIF proposal has been seen and read by many Zambians who may be going through their own decision-making process to decide whether to invest in the ZFIF and how much to invest once their final decision is made. The way we embrace ZFIF project proposal will have a bearing on how other Zambians in the Diaspora receive other future project ideas.
I may be wrong but it seems there is an apparent maneuver to come up with another body, parallel to ZFIF, which will be responsible for helping Diaspora Zambians in making investments in Zambia . However, history has shown that, as individuals, most of us in the Diaspora may not have the financial capacity to make an investment in Zambia that would have a large-scale impact on the Zambian society and employment market. One would expect that a lot of Zambians in the Diaspora would have by now embraced the investment ideas underlining the ZFIF on account of its defined aims and objectives. If all of us in the Diaspora cannot see the ZFIF as an opportunity and a vehicle that would ultimately contribute to Zambia ‘s development, why should we even fathom that the Zambiadiasporainvest will attract prospects to invest in Zambia ? By proposing an investment idea that sounds remotely similar to what the ZFIF intends to achieve merely creates an impression that some of us are not ready to embrace ideas by people other than ourselves and this also brings out elements of the Zambian Diaspora that is largely fragmented and incapable of working in concert. What are we going to lose by embracing the ZFIF? Nothing! If anything, we stand to be seen as one coherent and visionary group of educated Zambians that knows where it wishes to be as far as the invest-in Zambia idea in concerned.
The success of any investment project and/or proposal will depend largely on how all of us in the Diaspora render it the necessary support deserving. We have to be seen to have unity of purpose in working as a team to ensure that our project ideas see the light of day. This means that we all need to be supportive of feasible proposals that are ready, defined and concretized business projects. Therefore, at this stage, we have to be seen to be desirous of working together as one people and render support to the ZFIF project. I am of the view that we do not need to initiate a process of re-inventing the wheel (ZFIF) that is already in motion and with probably more than one-hundred thousand dollars in pledged investment funds.
How we move from this point to realizing our collective potential and influence in contributing to the development of our country will depend on how soon we deal with personal conflicts, group conflicts and unnecessary pride. Unless we start to unclad ourselves of these little encumbrances, it will remain a pipe-dream for the Diaspora to achieve anything substantial group success, let alone contribute to Zambia ’s development. As Zambians in the Diaspora, we have a responsibility to redeem our image in the eyes of the naysayers that have always said that we cannot achieve anything. Therefore, this is an opportunity for us all to put all the differences aside and start working together with unity of purpose for the development of Zambia .
Since we all have different opinions I don’t expect anyone to agree with what I have said here. Thank you for lending me your ear.