The ZAPOA Presidents Speech to The AGM 7th June 2019
Fellow Property Owners and members of the Zambia Property Owners Association. It is a proud day for me to preside over the 4th Annual General Meeting of the Association since its establishment in June 2014.
I am sure that we can all agree that the past year has been fraught with tremendous challenges starting with the Cholera Crisis at the beginning of 2018 and more recently with the highest depreciation of the kwacha against the US$ recorded at K14.08/1USD. Economic growth has slowed somewhat although we did achieve a real GDP growth rate of 4.1% for 2018.
Zambia is forecasted to achieve a similar growth rate for 2019, however the poor rainfall distribution has impacted our agricultural production but it is expected to rebound this year. It is also unfortunate that at the moment one of the key extending consequences of the poor rainfall distribution, is load shedding which will necessarily negatively impact our production and the full effects of which will remain to be seen. The China US trade war has further negatively impacted the global economy and growth forecasts have been reduced from 3.6% to 3.3% and for our particular concern as Zambia, this trade war has resulted in a reduction in the price of copper to below $6,000/ton.
Nonetheless despite these challenges there are direct efforts amongst the public sector to continue to support a growth outlook in Zambia with continued investment in infrastructure such as the Decongest Lusaka Road network Project and the L400 program amongst several energy projects, which spend will likely filter through into the local market to boost some of the local suppliers, and will also substantially alleviate the current traffic pressures and power constraints which hamper the productivity of the local economy.
Private investment does also continue to grow and we still have substantial investments in the property development space to provide more modern amenities to the local economy more notably with the opening of the Sunshare Office Building, Green City Office complex in the Arcades Area, Pinnacle Mall, ECL Mall in the Copperbelt, the Hilton Hotel in Lusaka and several modern town house complexes in and around Zambia. We also have future planned openings later this year of significant developments such as the Eastpark Mall extension, Lewanika Mall in Woodlands Extension, PSPF Mall and Offices on Alick Nkhata Road, the ZEP office tower also on Alick Nkhata Road, and the Agora Village being a mixed-use retail, office and residential development on Thabo Mbeki Road, to name but a few of the substantial investments continuing the property space in Zambia, alongside the new Lusaka International Airport.
With such substantial developments in the property space in Zambia, we as ZAPOA have endeavoured to continue to promote our members interests and started the year with advice and guidance on responding to the cholera crisis, and also hosted a workshop to provide the full details of the initiation of the Lusaka Road Decongestion project, presentations from ZNBS on housing development and options for partnerships. We also collaborated with other key associations such as the American Chamber of Commerce and submitted our views and recommendation to government on the draft Land Policy and also co-organised the Stakeholder Conference with government representatives in September. We also partnered and co-hosted the ZAMREAL Conference and culminated the year with the first and certainly not the last of the Zambia Property Awards in a prolific social event at the end of 2018. This celebration of Property achievements voted by our peers, was a success and we look forward to more of such going forward in the years to come. We can also confirm that we have now engaged a private company, Skills Transfer Limited to be our secretariat which will further enhance our engagement with members and stakeholders to represent your interests in Zambia.
Going forward we also plan to schedule more engagement with the Ministry of Finance as we address the economic challenges together as key contributors to development, to have an event in the Copperbelt (with the support of some of our members), host tours of the aforementioned new developments opening in Lusaka, and to top off this year with another celebration of achievements in the property space to mark the end of what can only be described as another ‘challenging year’.
We are keen to progress the movements on the Property index and hope to receive volunteers to assist in this program and may also co-opt some members to participate in such key committees to further enhance our impact in the property sector for Zambia.
Thank you all for your continued support and together we will continue to further the interests of members to develop and grow the property sector for Zambia.