Fisho Mwale writes;
WHY AREN’T WE MILLIONAIRES?
Last week I was ecstatic and proud . A brother of mine from SA sent me an article about a certain James Ndambo, a Zambian multi millionaire( in dollar terms) who is setting up a VIP Executive Jet company. I felt my chest swell with pride because James is a brother of mine . James is one of the most astute businessmen I’ve come across. But his most disarming virtues is his simplicity, his humility and generosity. James’s success in business rests on his ability to rebound from setbacks and embrace the most audacious business challenges and environments. When James was frustrated and harassed in his own country he moved to South Africa where he became a successful entrepreneur. Inspite of vicious Xenophobia. When I migrated to South Africa as “an economic refugee” James took me in and organized my papers as he has done unconditionally for many Zambians.
James decided to conquer DRC when it had a very difficult political and economic environment. He introduced digitalized Customs clearance. He has become one of the most successful businessmen in DRC and Africa.
James tried to do the same in his home country , but because he is Zambian we killed his dream and decided to give the same business to those who are lighter than us, it’s a Zambian thing.
When therefore I received another call from a Chairman of a big public listed company in the UK who asked if I could introduce him to my brother James Ndambo in Kinshasa because he was such an important man in DRC I gushed with pride as a Zambian and someone who knows such a successful home boy.
The question: Would James have succeeded if he had stayed in Zambia?
The Answer: No
The Reason : James would have succeeded but not to the same extent. He could have been a millionaire but not a multi millionaire because our environment and culture is hard and belligerent on our own. We create more conducive preferential conditions for “bazungus” than ourselves. A foreigner is easier seen or met or listened to than a Zambian entrepreneur. It’s a mindset thing. A Zambian in his own country has to work 5 times as hard to be recognized. A simple business example a Zambian running a first class restaurant will hardly get muzungu clients but a muzungu restaurant with even lower standards will be fulu fulu with muzungus and Zambians . For instance check out Rocky Sombe’s CAPELLOS at Lewanika Mall in Woodlands, it’s first class but no Muzungu. We are our own enemies. We still consider having a million dollars as exotic, a miracle or let alone criminal and the reason is because we DO NOT THINK BIG like James Ndambo .
James Ndambo has now set up an airline . The Zambian government has been trying to set up an Airline for the past 5 years . Who is a hero?
The lesson is that as HH said this is now an era for Zambians First. We must allow our own Zambians to built capacity in fuel procurement, in construction , in Farming, in Renewable energy , in financial services , in Real estate development etc. Don’t condemn but encourage don’t pull down but build and those who succeed we must recognize them for making us proud . A Big up to you James Ndambo my own brother.
To the young entrepreneur James Ndambo is your icon. Emulate his resilience , his focus and ability to embrace change and technology but importantly you live in a Global village without borders. If you are too far ahead of your society find one where you will be appreciated. Do not let small minds stop you from being Great.