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March 22, 2004

Realpolitik Zambian Style?

The government says that there is no official policy to help and encourage white farmers relocating from Zimbabwe, but a Zambian bank is giving out loans that seem to be achieving that precise result.


A Zambian bank has given more than $30-million (about R210-million) to white Zimbabwean farmers resettling in Zambia, state media reported on Monday.

Peter Mclean, managing director of Standard Chartered Bank (Stanchart), said the money was disbursed between January and December last year. However, he could not state how many Zimbabwean farmers had received the loans, the Zambia Daily Mail reported.

"The bank has given loans to farmers who were clients of Stanchart Zimbabwe and were identified as they moved to Zambia," he said.

This comes at a time when black Zambian farmers are struggling to obtain agricultural loans and other credit facilities from local banks because of exceedingly high interest rates and other conditions they fail to meet.

With the government's push to move more of Zambia's economy toward agriculture, could this be a hidden policy designed to achieve a necessary result through unpopular methods? Zimbabwe's white farmers were, at one time, responsible for feeding not only Zimbabwe but also for exporting food throughout Africa. With the farm redistribution policies of Mugabe's government, that changed, of course.

From out here, it looks like Zambia would like to capitalize on Zimbabwe's self-destructive policies. While it may be unpopular, it may also be a move that makes Zambian farms--and the overall economic health of the country--far more successful.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at March 22, 2004 11:26 AM
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