Zambia calls for increased Chinese investment
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In the run up to his much anticipated visit to the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, Zambian president Edgar Lungu has called for greater economic collaboration between his country and China.
He proposed that the two countries strengthen ties by collaborating over Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deals, with the goal of attracting Chinese investment to Zambia. The South African nation has experienced economic growth of around 6.3 percent per annum across the past decade and is looking to maintain this enviable success.
Lungu said, “You see, currently the world has become a global village and mostly we are trying to see what we can get from our inter-state relationship and in so doing we have always striven for a win-win or mutual benefit result.”
China has invested a great deal in the success of Zambia; so far this has totalled almost $2.6 billion which has helped secure the employment of up to 50,000 Zambian people.
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The BFA annual conference will bring together world leaders from Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Austria, Armenia and China. Presidents, business leaders, and academics will meet to discuss the most pressing issues facing their countries, with this year’s theme titled ‘Asia’s New Future: Towards a Community of Common Destiny.’
President Lungu noted the small but significant impact of Chinese tourism and its massive potential for growth, he said, “We will look at this carefully and see how we can partner with the Chinese to higher levels so that the Chinese tourists do not just end up in our neighbouring countries but end up in Zambia as well.”
PPP can certainly provide capital for government spending projects, but this can come at a significant cost since, generally speaking, governments can borrow money at a lower interest than the private sector. If the right decisions are made by both sides, there is still certainly much potential for this partnership to develop between the two nations.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.