The sheep had drowned while trying to cross a small canal in the meadow-swamp ‘Tøndermasken’ in southern Jylland in Denmark. Birds had eaten every part above the surface and everything under was left totally untouched. from the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012.
The south-central African nation of Zambia does everything possible to attract investors. Like the economy of any frontier market nation, Zambia needs foreign direct investment. So it offers inducements and incentives like tax holidays and easy foreign transfers.
Zambia ranks seventh of nearly 50 nations on the World Bank’s list of best African states to do business in, and it is the continent’s largest copper producer. Add to this that new investors in Africa from South Korea to India and Brazil are starting to crowd in.
Yet in a region with a history of abuse and exploitation, and with relatively recent discoveries of its mineral wealth, Zambia has also started “pushing back” on foreign investors that want to do business the old way, including firms based in China and India.
In the past, foreign businesses have taken advantage of eager African nations that offer lush incentives: The typical story is that investors would enter, sign incentive-laden contracts, then promptly ignore all responsibility. The local people often saw no benefit from their nation’s wealth.
To this end, the Zambian Ministry of Finance has started revoking licenses of local and foreign investors that abuse incentives – ranging from ignoring safety standards, disregarding labor laws, perpetuating a lack of transparency, or breaking promises to hire locals.
“It is only logical and appropriate that those who violate the provisions under which incentives were granted face sanctions, including revocation of their investment licenses,” Alexander Chikwanda, Zambian minister of finance, said last fall.