REMARKS BY MUSIKA MANAGING DIRECTOR, MR REUBEN BANDA, DURING THE PARTNERS GUIDE YOUNG ZAMBIAN BUSINESS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS CEREMONY HELD ON WEDNESDAY 15TH NOVEMBER, 2017

 

-        HER HONOUR THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA AND GUEST OF HONOUR - MS INONGE WINA,

-        THE SWEDISH AMBASSADOR TO ZAMBIA - HIS EXCELLENCY, HENRIK CEDERIN

-        THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING – HON. KAMPAMBA MULENGA, MP AND OTHER SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PRESENT

-        THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR STANDARD CHARTERED BANK ZAMBIA – MR HERMAN KESEKENDE

-        THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR PARTNERS GROUP – MR JONATHAN KAYS

-        DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS

-        MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

-        LET ME SIMPLY SAY, ‘ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED’

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I WISH TO EXPRESS OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION TO PARTNERS GUIDE FOR INVITING MUSIKA TO BE PART AND PARCEL OF THE 2017 YOUNG ZAMBIAN BUSINESS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS. I KNOW THE PROCESS HAS NOT BEEN EASY FOR THE ORGANISERS OF SUCH AN INGENOUS INITIATIVE, AS IT REQUIRED A LOT OF INVESTMENT IN TERMS OF TIME, EFFORT AND RESOURCES TO REACH THIS FAR. I WISH TO ALSO RECOGNISE THE COMMITMENT AND DETERMINATION THAT THE FINALISTS HAVE EXHIBITED TO WIN THEM A PLACE IN THE TOP 10 AS THEY COMPETED FOR THIS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD.     

OUR INVOLVEMENT AS A SPONSOR OF THIS COMPETITION IS PART OF ON-GOING EFFORTS BY MUSIKA TO ENGAGE THE MEDIA AS DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS AS WE IMPLEMENT VARIOUS INTERVENTIONS AIMED AT REDUCING POVERTY AND CREATING WEALTH IN RURAL COMMUNITIES.

SOME OF YOU MAY BE AWARE THAT MUSIKA IS AN INDEPENDENT ZAMBIAN NON-PROFIT COMPANY WHOSE DEVELOPMENT APPROACH FOCUSES ON CHANGING MARKET SYSTEMS THAT SHOW THE GREATEST EXISTING OPPORTUNITY FOR PRO-POOR GROWTH. IT IS SUPPORTED BY THE EMBASSY OF SWEDEN IN ZAMBIA TO STIMULATE AND SUPPORT PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN THE SMALLHOLDER AND RURAL MARKETS.

IN THIS REGARD, MUSIKA PROVIDES HIGH QUALITY, COMMERCIALLY FOCUSED TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND A RANGE OF SMART, CATALYTIC INVESTMENTS TO ITS PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS, AIMED AT REDUCING THE INITIAL RISKS INVOLVED IN EXPLORING, TESTING AND DEVELOPING NEW MARKETS.

AS A RESULT OF MUSIKA’S EFFORTS, THE PERCEPTION BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR - THAT THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET OFFERS VERY LITTLE OPPORTUNITY FOR BUSINESS GROWTH - IS SLOWLY CHANGING. OVER THE YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN MORE AND MORE FIRMS EXPANDING THEIR OPERATIONS IN REMOTE GEOGRAPHIES, AND OFFERING ‘VALUE ADDITION’ SERVICES SUCH AS AGRICULTURE EXTENSION SO THAT THE RELATIONSHIPS DEVELOPED ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE MARKET OPPORTUNITIES THAT MUSIKA HAS FACILITATED IN THE RURAL COMMUNITIES HAVE ENABLED SMALLHOLDERS TO INVEST IN THEIR OWN PRODUCTION, AND THIS HAS REDUCED THE HIGH DEPENDENCY ON GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES AND HAND-OUTS FROM AID ORGANISATIONS – A CULTURE THAT MAKES IT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FOR SMALL SCALE FARMERS TO GRADUATE OUT OF POVERTY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS A ‘THOUGHT LEADER’ IN THE AGRICULTURAL MARKET AND WITH AN EXPLICIT EMPHASIS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR, MUSIKA HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN HELPING TO INFLUENCE THE MEDIA TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE AND WORKINGS OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR. IT ALSO HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO ENCOURAGE MEDIA PRACTITIONERS TO HELP TO STEER THOUGHT WITHIN SOCIETY AS A WHOLE, AND POLICY MAKERS SPECIFICALLY, AWAY FROM THE PERCEPTION OF PRIVATE PLAYERS BEING BY THEIR NATURE EXPLOITATIVE AND COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE TO THE INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN ZAMBIA.

TODAY, AS WE GATHER, MUSIKA HAS OVER 70 PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS RANGING FROM MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES TO SMALL AGRIBUSINESSES OPERATING IN REMOTE MARKETS AND PROVIDING IMPROVED MARKET ACCESS TO APPROXIMATELY 380,000 SMALLHOLDERS ACROSS ZAMBIA. WE HAVE FACILITATED, THROUGH THESE FIRMS, THE DEVELOPMENT OF 2,500 NEW ‘INTERMEDIARIES’ INCLUDING STOCKISTS, SALES AGENTS, SMALL TRADERS, VET ASSISTANTS AMONG OTHERS, THAT ARE PROVIDING A RANGE OF SERVICES TO AGRIBUSINESS AND SMALLHOLDER FARMERS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MUSIKA RECOGNISES THE MEDIA AS A KEY DRIVER OF CHANGE AND THEREFORE MUCH CAN BE ACHIEVED IF THE MEDIA IS FULLY ENGAGED IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. THIS YEARS’ YOUNG ZAMBIAN BUSINESS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS GAVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT AN INITIATIVE BY PARTNERS GUIDE, AIMED AT DEVELOPING SKILLS AND CAPACITY AMONG YOUNG JOURNALISTS TO ENABLE THEM CREATE A MORE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE MEDIA PLATFORM. PART OF THIS PROCESS INCLUDED TRAINING OF THE JOURNALISTS BY SPECIALISED AGRICULTURAL MEDIA RESOURCE PERSONS FROM THE REGION THAT WERE SUPPORTED BY MUSIKA, TO ASSIST BRING THAT CAPACITY TO ZAMBIA.

IT IS OUR BELIEF THAT THIS PROCESS WILL ENCOURAGE THE SHARING OF INFORMATION REQUIRED TO GROW THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY THROUGH VARIOUS MEDIA PLATFORMS SUCH AS PROVISION OF LOCALISED EXTENSION SUPPORT, DISSEMINATING INFORMATION ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, AND BY ACTING AS ADVOCATES, BRINGING TO THE ATTENTION OF DECISION MAKERS THE CHALLENGES FACING SMALLHOLDERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY - ULTIMATELY MAKING THE AGRICULTURAL AND ESSENTIAL SERVICE SECTORS WORK FOR THE POOR.

AS I CONCLUDE, I JUST WANT TO ENCOURAGE THE FINALISTS TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO FOSTER A GREATER CULTURE WITHIN THE MEDIA OF PROMOTING BUSINESS AND DISCUSSING AND DEBATING ECONOMIC ISSUES THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO ECONOMIC GROWTH.

I WISH TO THANK PARTNERS GUIDE, THROUGH THE COMPANY’S CEO MR JONATHAN KAYS, FOR YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND DETERMINATION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE AREA OF MEDIA DEVELOPMENT. I WISH TO ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE GOVERNMENT EFFORTS IN CREATING A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR, WHICH INCLUDES THE MEDIA, TO HELP GROW THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY.  

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!