A $72 Billion Pledge: Separating Fact from Fiction- Dr Mwelwa

Dr. Mwelwa

A $72 Billion Pledge: Separating Fact from Fiction

By Dr Mwelwa

The recent announcement of a $72 billion investment pledge from a Vietnamese investor in Zambia’s agricultural sector has certainly grabbed headlines. However, as the old adage goes, the devil is in the details. This colossal pledge raises serious red flags that the government must address with the utmost caution and scrutiny.

Firstly, the sheer scale of the proposed investment – $72 billion over 20 years – is simply staggering, even for an economic powerhouse like Vietnam. To put this in perspective, Vietnam’s entire GDP in 2022 was estimated at around $366 billion. Can a single Vietnamese investor realistically commit nearly a fifth of their country’s entire economic output to a project in Zambia? The skepticism is warranted.

Secondly, the lack of information on the investor’s background and track record is highly concerning. While the company, “Viet-Zam Diversified Development Company Limited,” is said to be registered in Zambia, its history, financial strength, and proven ability to execute projects of this magnitude are conspicuously absent. Relying on a pledge from an unknown entity with no proven track record is a recipe for disappointment, if not outright disaster.

Moreover, the sheer scale of the land allocation – 7 million hectares across three provinces – raises further questions. Is the Zambian government certain that it can legally and ethically allocate such a vast expanse of land to a single investor, especially one without a proven track record? The potential for land disputes, environmental damage, and the displacement of local communities is palpable.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the government’s own figures seem to contradict the lofty claims made about this investment. According to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, the total committed investments in Zambia have increased from $3 billion in 2021 to $40 billion in 2023. If that is the case, how can a single $72 billion pledge from a Vietnamese investor suddenly account for a significant portion of the total?

The government must exercise extreme caution in vetting this investment proposal and resist the temptation to make grand proclamations without solid evidence. Zambians deserve transparency, accountability, and a commitment to sustainable development that truly benefits the local population, not just the interests of foreign investors.

In conclusion, while the promise of 300,000 jobs and significant economic growth is enticing, the government must resist the urge to embrace this investment without rigorous due diligence. The Zambian people cannot afford to be let down by another unfulfilled pledge or, worse, a well-orchestrated scam. The stakes are too high, and the government must prioritize the country’s long-term interests over short-term headlines.


  1. I looked at the screaming headlines from the sick Daily Mail and Times of Zambia yesterday and I shook my head, here we go again! The Mingalatoon madness.
    $72 Billion Investment…7 Millions Hectares of Land…300,000 jobs.
    And again I ask the Opposition Political parties, Members of Parliament , CSOs Please up the game.. Traditional leaders, please wake up. There won’t be a Zambia left under Hakainde. Theres already 10% Zambian land given to Dubai for some ‘Carbon ‘ nonsense.
    This man doesn’t know what he is doing. He has completely lost it..completely overwhelmed by problems which he , himself has self created. He is blindly phishing for anything he can present to Zambia as an achievement. Any con man who comes with weirdest Investment pledges is a friend and treated to the red carpet. given land on a silver platter..and the megaphone media takes over …complicit in the deceit of Zambians. 2500 MW, 3500 MW , 5000MW Solar farms pledges and land is given.
    What is happening in Zambia is Total NONSENSE and a DISGRACE.
    Hakainde has lost it completely.

  2. I think there’s a certain amount naivety at the Zambia Development Agency. It raises questions about the ZDA’s capacity to capture basic information about would-be investors and even the in-house discussion that takes place among its management. Chasing newspaper headlines should not be the concern of technocrats.

  3. Just divert 50 of the CDF money and you will have enough capital to rule yourselves, you can’t always just be talking about private investigators. Farming investment should be left to locals. There is too much land given out to foreigners.

  4. If it is too good to be true, it is a scam. This USD72billion “investment” is a lot of nonsense. And to pledge so much land in the name of investment is total madness.

    To imagine that we are even talking about it publicly is a shame. I can bet my last ngwee that these are just scammers out to trick us out of our precious land! Ati ZDA!!

    A fool and his inheritance are soon parted!!


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