Socialist party demands deep probe of $72 billion Vietnamese investment pledge, claims too good to be true


Socialist Party (SP) Chairperson for Research, Lawrence Mwelwa, says the recent announcement of a US$72 billion investment pledge from a Vietnamese investor in Zambia’s agricultural sector needs scrutiny.

In statement on Thursday, Mwelwa said the massive pledge raised serious red flags that the government must address with the utmost caution and scrutiny.

“Firstly, the sheer scale of the proposed investment of $72 billion over 20 years is simply staggering, even for an economic powerhouse like Vietnam. To put this in perspective, Vietnam’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022 was estimated at around US$366 billion,” he said.

Mwelwa, an academic, further queried a single Vietnamese investor would realistically commit nearly a fifth of their country’s entire economic output to a project in Zambia?

“Secondly, the lack of information on the investor’s background and track record is highly concerning. While the company, “Viet-Zam Diversified Development Company Limited,” is said to be registered in Zambia, its history, financial strength and proven ability to execute projects of this magnitude are conspicuously absent,” he argued.

Mwelwa pointed out that relying on a pledge from an unknown entity with no proven track record was a recipe for disappointment, if not outright disaster.

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Moreover, he noted that the sheer scale of seven million hectares of the land allocation across three provinces should raise further questions.

“Is the Zambian government certain that it can legally and ethically allocate such a vast expanse of land to a single investor, especially one without a proven track record? The potential for land disputes, environmental damage and the displacement of local communities is palpable,” Mwelwa wondered.

If that is the case, Mwelwa asked how could a single $72 billion pledge from a Vietnamese investor suddenly account for a significant portion of the total?

“The government must exercise extreme caution in vetting this investment proposal and resist the temptation to make grand proclamations without solid evidence.

“Zambians deserve transparency, accountability and a commitment to sustainable development that truly benefits the local population, not just the interests of foreign investors,” he stated.

Mwelwa further argued that while the promise of 300,000 jobs and significant economic growth was enticing, the government must resist the urge to embrace the investment without rigorous due diligence.

He said the Zambian people could not afford to be let down by another unfulfilled pledge or, worse, a well-orchestrated scam adding that the stakes were too high hence the government must prioritize the country’s long-term interests over short-term headlines.

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