The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) expects to guarantee projects in Zambia to the tune of at least US$40mn in the next three months.

According to vice-president Michel Wormser, Miga currently insures Zambian projects worth nearly US$125mn in total: the majority (US$80mn) relating to the agricultural sector.

““We expect US$40mn more of projects which will take place in Zambia based on requests we have already received from investors, ” Wormser said at a briefing in Lusaka this week.

A Miga spokesperson confirms to GTR that the actual investment amount will likely be higher, and that support for one project has already been agreed, with another in the pipeline.

A 15-year US$26.6mn guarantee has been issued in support of the Chobe Agrivision project on behalf of Chayton Africa, involving the acquisition of an existing wheat and maize mill in Zambia’s Copperbelt province.

GTR has learnt that another project, as yet undisclosed, will fall under Miga’s master reinsurance programme with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic).

“In terms of trade, the focus is currently on local consumption in Zambia as demand is outpacing supply,” says GTR’s source. “However, the government would like to increase agricultural productivity to become an exporter.”

At the briefing, Wormser emphasised the importance of diversifying the country’s exports. “80% of exports out of Zambia are from the mining sector yet the sector only accounts for 1.7% of the jobs created,” he said. “Rural growth is important and farming is one of the areas that can support development.”

Zambia’s economy is heavily reliant on the mining of copper. According to the World Trade Organisation, the resource accounts for 60% of the country’s exports. The country produces 70% of the total copper production in Africa.