Sunday, 22 July 2007

A former M.P. for Mkushi says...

The committee of Lands and Natural Resources was in 1994/5 informed by the Minstry of Lands officials that less than 6% of the land of Zambia had been alienated to private ownership and less than 1% was in the hands of foreigners. Even if this has doubled now, which I doubt, it is not an factor in Zambia's inability to attract prosperity. Archaic immigration policy combined with this pathetic excuse for failure drafted into the draft Land Policy is just another decoy put out by selfish leaders in government who cannot be bothered to concentrate for two minutes on creating a realistic environment for the disenfranshed masses to prosper. Perhaps general prosperity would threaten the low standards of governance. I see no future for investment in production if this is really where our thinking is. Real farm values have declined steadily since land security was first tampered with the early 70's and only recovered for a couple of years when Zimbabwe land appropriation displaced some investment in the first half of this decade.

For Gods sake lets focus on the real problem here: Pan Africa GDP has dropped from 3% to 1.5% of the global GDP. African Governments have had absolute control of the continent for nearly half a century now so blame cannot be cast far. In this period we have squandered and stolen more international assistance than anyone else in the history of mankind.

Bweulele, chincha gear Zambian policy makers- stop falling for the oldest tricks in the book. Europe is presenting us with the biggest opportunity yet to reverse the decline- BioFuel. Make land available for investment and endorse secure investment structures like Landsafe and let our rural brothers become the arabs of vegetable oil and Ethanol.No-one can transport raw oil seeds and sugar cane to Europe for refining so we would automatically benefit from secondary industry. (Landsafe is an investment structure which fosters partnership and could offer enough security if government would back it). You can negotiate a share in prosperity but there are no shares in poverty.

Rolf Shenton

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