Seychellois gets SIB rep’s help to invest in Zambia


24-December-2012

Mr Dunlop

The process of obtaining the land has been made possible through the active assistance of the Seychelles Investment Board’s (SIB) honorary investment and trade representative in the Southern African country Jamil Butt.

Mr Stewart, a mycologist, is in Seychelles for a few weeks to brief the authorities on his project, which he plans to kick-start in February next year.

Meeting him last week, I learned how the idea was born.

Mr Stewart was already very familiar with the Zambian countryside - having worked for many years in the past with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Small Pox Eradication Programme in the villages of Zambia.

He covered Zambia from the border with Tanzania through to the border with Angola, giving him time to know the countryside very well.

“The interest to do business in Zambia came about in 2010 when there was a world food shortage, especially rice, due to floods and drought which were affecting various parts of the world.

“I remember all the vast and well watered land that I had come across and known very well from the time I spent in Zambia,” said Mr Stewart.

“I thought then about cultivating rice and planting sunflower, the residue of which can be used in animal feed,” he added.

“But I later found out that Zambia was already cultivating rice on the banks of the Zambezi River,” he said.

But now he has decided to cultivate soya and maize alternately for export and for which he said there is a big market in Asia. The maize will also contribute to Zambia’s local needs.

Mr Stewart said he is investing US $300 000 in the project to start with. This will include developing the land, sourcing out farm hands.

Mr Stewart said he is dying to get back to Zambia to start his project.

And this would probably be in mid February when the rainy season would be coming to its end.
He noted that his whole family is working with him on the project.
“This is not a one-man show,” he noted.

Mr Dunlop is presently the only known Seychellois doing business in Zambia.

“This is a pity because land for farming is in abundance in Zambia and people need only to have money and a project development plan to move on,” he noted.

He added that in the long term he will encourage the local authorities here to explore different import possibilities of various commodities from Zambia where the costs will be as cheap as other sources.

SIB chief executive Sherin Renaud pointed out that the board has thirteen appointed honorary investment and trade representatives in different countries but four of them are very active and they have so far organised a number of foreign business delegations to come to Seychelles for different business fact-finding missions. They were from the Czech Republic, Russia, Zambia, South Africa.

“They have exchanged a lot of contacts with SIB,” she noted.

Mrs Renaud noted that while the SIB is encouraging foreign investors to come to Seychelles, Seychellois businesses are also being encouraged to make the most of investment opportunities in other countries when and where they are available.

Mr Stewart said Mr Butt made easier the process for him to obtain the land through the Zambian Development Agency.

He said it was not a difficult process but one has to receive help to go about knocking on the right doors.

“In fact Zambia is making it as easy as possible for serious investors do business there,” he added.

He said the whole process has taken him less than four months and Mr Butt has been very helpful.

But he noted that during the meetings he is having with various concerned stakeholders locally, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, he expects to bring to their attention certain related issues.

M-A.L.

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