In an ongoing effort to make information about Zambia readily available to potential investors from the United States, the Zambia-USA Chamber of Commerce has developed a mobile app for the iPhone and iPad with future plans to develop it for Android devices.
The app will provide the user with access to a variety of resources including both the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Washington DC and the US Embassy in Zambia, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Bank of Zambia (BOZ), Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE). The app also provides data from external sources namely the World Bank/IFC and Heritage Foundation. Additionally, the app links the user to multiple videos about Zambia’s investment climate for those who would like to listen to different perspectives. The app also receives regular RSS Zambia specific news feeds from the allAfrica website.
Zambia USA Chamber of Commerce founder and CEO Robert Sichinga Jnr talked about how advances in technology are making it possible to reach a wider potential audience for a fraction of what it would have cost not too long ago. “The right combination of electronic media, professional and social platforms, and face to face interactions can make the challenges from insufficient marketing budgets a thing of the past. But it has to be the right combination or it’s a waste of time and effort.” he said. “It’s significantly cheaper to pay for the development and maintenance of an app than to print, distribute, update, and redistribute hardcopies of magazines which most people look at once and throw in the trash.” Sichinga further stated that less than 0.05% of the apps on the Apple App Store are owned by chambers of commerce, so he considers the Zambia USA Chamber somewhat of a forward thinker in its community of chambers of commerce. “Today’s investor, business person and consumer has come to expect that information be readily available at any time of the day in the most convenient form, and now Zambia has met this expectation.” Sichinga said.
Sichinga’s vision for this app is that it becomes the first resource that anyone with an interest in Zambia uses as they consider doing business with Zambia. He feels that though the information is publicly available, not many people know what to look for and/or where to find it. Now the holder of the app has in his or her hand government, financial, and social information about the country in one place and available wherever the user has access to their device. He further stated that the scalability of the App makes it easy to add, modify and remove information without much effort. He is currently in the process of developing a Zambia tourism section of the App. Discussions are still in their infancy.
The Chamber of Commerces primary interest is in publicizing, promoting, and developing commercial opportunities between the United States of America and Zambia.