‘Zambia must embrace drastic shift, restructure economic lansdcape’

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BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

ZAMBIA needs to embrace the drastic shifts in the local economic landscape created by Covid-19 to build a stronger economy post the pandemic, says Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Leina Gabaraane.

Mr Gabaraane said the pandemic had resulted in the creation of new commercial sectors despite stifling others.

He indicated that there was no doubt that the industries would see a drastic change in our economic landscape going forward. 

“But the question is, how do we as country adapt and take advantage of this pandemic to restructure our economy and stimulate new growth sectors?” Mr Gabaraane said recently during a Stanbic Anakazi Online Conversations webinar.

Mr Gabaraane said the real estate sector was one of the industries that had been heavily impacted by the pandemic. 

He however observed that despite being in a precarious position due to reduced demand for commercial floor space, there remained plenty of room for growth in real estate.

“Thanks to social distancing and people working from home, we now have fewer people coming into our buildings. We expect this trend to continue even after the outbreak for several businesses that have effectively utilised the digital sphere to make remote working a success.

Lafarge Zambia Chief Executive Officer, Jimmy Khan, said there had been a marked shift in the local construction sector as there was a sharp increase in small projects while major infrastructure projects ground to a halt across the country.

Mr Khan said with the market shifting to smaller projects, stakeholders must find ways to stimulate this new dynamic and keep the real estate industry viable.

“What we are seeing is that as people are staying home, they suddenly have surplus resources that would have otherwise been spent on social events.

“These funds are now being channelled towards domestic real estate projects. More people are now building their own houses or simply expanding their existing structures. This is a solid investment as it is a kind of inflation hedging on their part,” he said.

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