Opinion: Reflections Of A Zambian Entrepreneur

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An ideal country has three key people, a politician to make policy, a civil servant to implement policy and an entrepreneur to use policy and create value and pay taxes.

The taxes paid will provide cash needed for paying the politician, the civil servant and cater for other public needs such as health, schools, building roads, etc.

Therefore, these three people are all very important, if anyone of them is missing, then the economic and governance equation will not balance.

Now, since the politician and the civil servant are in most cases indigenous or local people, wouldn’t it be fair that the ideal entrepreneur should also be indigenous? Here is the interesting part, if the entrepreneur is a local person then most likely whatever money he makes is not externalised and creates a ripple effect within the local economy.

For instance, after making a profit he may decide to buy a plot to build a house, he will then buy materials locally and employ locals to help him build. This ripple will continue as the supplier of materials and the builders after making a profit will also decide to reinvest their money in other similar ventures locally.

This is exactly what happens in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and even most European countries. Locals rule, locals implement and locals run the economy and pay taxes which develop their economies.

Making policy to suit foreigners or implementing policy to suit foreigners is like having a child who is still learning how to walk and when time to go shopping comes you decide to leave your child and go to borrow your neighbors child who can walk for convenience.

You will end up buying things like clothes for your neighbors child which will not fit or be suitable for your child. No country ever developed by entirely leaving the job of development in foreign hands. Local content is key.

In conclusion, for any country to develop, we expect the politician to make policy that supports local participation, the civil servant is expected to effectively implement this policy to the benefit of all including the local people. Local entrepreneurs should also work hard and out compete foreigners or at least come level. So everyone plays their role and the country develops.

By Kumbukilani Phiri


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