On Sunday Karien Kermer attended the colourful opening of the new One-Stop-Shop, officially opened by Ban Ki Moon.
The ceremony started with the ZAF brass band playing the National Anthem and speeches by The MP of the Southern Province Miles Sampa, The minister of Commerce Trade and Industry, Robert Sichinga , the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Given Lubinda and guest of honour, The Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon
The Minister of Commerce and Industry talked about the importance of the new centre where all 15 ministries are represented, as well as the revenue authorities, and the registrar of Companies. Companies can now be registered in Livingstone and have all paperwork done in 24 hours. This would otherwise have taken many months with numerous trips to the capital Lusaka. He talked about not just making foreign investment easier but also making trade between our neighboring countries a lot simpler – afterall Zambia is a land-linked county with 8 neighboring countries.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Given Lubinda, already very popular in Livingstone as he bungi – jumped from the Victoria Falls Bridge in an earlier visit in January (see earlier blog) He mentioned that whenever he is in Livingstone he wants to be addressed as the Minister of Tourism and Foreign affairs. He welcomed the very first ever Secretary General of the UN to visit Zambia. He talked about Zambia as being a nation of peace and tranquility and one of the few nations in Africa transferring power from one party to another without any incident. He also talked about the many tourist attractions in Livingstone, as well as the country, the culture and the friendly people – all this being an attraction for safe foreign investment, now made easier by the new tourism and licensing centre.
Ban Ki-Moon mentioned in his speech that he was not brave enough to join Lubinda in jumping of the bridge but was very happy with the invitation to Livingstone to open the new one stop shop where the 15 ministries were represented. He talked about tourism being very important as it will develop the country through support and sustainable development. Simplifying licensing for investment is very important.
He compared Zambia with Korea who also invited foreign investment but Korea went through a complete financial crisis in 1997 failing to get the investment they had expected. The problem was that it was cumbersome to invest in Korea – it took too long, 2 to 4 years and the investor would invest somewhere else more cooperative. Korea also introduced a one stop centre and Korea now enjoys prosperity through this and is now the 15th commercial power in the world.
Good governance and transparency will bring a lot of foreign interest. He suggested putting all information online on a website which will reduce the possibility for bribery. He emphasized that sustainable development is good for jobs and a healthy environment and Livingstone should add the word one stop ‘green’ shop to the new centre.
After the speeches the plaque was unveiled