—Indigenous businesses with capital exceeding US $ 100,000 have recorded an increase in Zambia’s North Western province.
This is according to a study conducted by Belgium’s Ghent University which aimed at looking at the socio-economic impact of mining in North Western province.
According to a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Public Relations Consultant, Davis Mulenga, the study revealed that the future outlook bode well for the local businesses because of new mines that were opening up in the province.
It says the businesses have seen huge growth in the last decade, developing distribution networks for goods and services.
And on a large –scale, the study observed that more and more houses were being built and that a related feature of the construction business was carpentry and welding which the study says is highly visible along the main road.
The study also noted the ripple-effect generated by mining activities in the province and beyond, citing an increase in the employment opportunities offered by the mines ,which it says has led to more shops becoming active thereby displaying an increase in cash circulation.
The study emphasised the decade of growth by contrasting with the yesteryears before the peaking of mining activities.
“Before mining activities peaked, dealers in second hand clothes exchanged them for maize, a kind of antiquity trade because most people could not afford cash. The only salaried employees who could afford the goods and services on offer were a few government workers such as immigration officers and teachers,” the study revealed.
Meanwhile, Felix Kaputu, a Zambian-born lead researcher, has attributed the rise of indigenous private entrepreneurship in the province to the mining activities by FQM and other industry players.
FQM is one of Zambia’s most successful home-grown companies and said to be the only mining company listed on Lusaka Stock Exchange (LUSE)
Prof Kaputo, nonetheless, argued that if trajectory of growth was to be sustained, there was need for greater diversification and improvement in business skills.