Foreigners cash in on weak Zambian land policies, says lobby group


By Oscar Nkala:

The Zambian Land Alliance (ZLA) says foreigners are cashing in on land which they acquire at very low rates from the government and re-sell at inflated costs to locals.

In an interview with the Times of Zambia, ZLA executive director Nsama Chikolwa said the government should regulate the land acquisition policy in such a way that it does not alienate poor locals from land ownership.
Chikolwa said the acquisition of large tracts of prime and urban and rural farm land by foreign individuals and companies was a scam in which foreigners took advantage of the government’s flexible land ownership policy.
She also blamed such unfettered access to land by foreigners on weak land administration policies, which she blamed for not protecting and prioritising local ownership of land.

“Whenever land is advertised, it is being sold at an expensive price. I don’t think we are making land available to the average Zambians. It is only available to the elite. We must think through most of our legislation and consider what we want to achieve, since we do not want to give absolute right of ownership of land to foreigners,’ she said.
Chikolwa said government review the Companies Act, through which most foreign developers acquire land, to ensure that the interests of local communities are represented whenever foreign investors acquire land.