OPINION: Jack Ma Visit to Zambia a Lost Opportunity

The recent visit to Zambia by China’s richest man Jack Ma hardly received any notice apart from just a milieu of selfie happy airport staff.

Elsewhere on the continent Ma’s visit has had the entire government machinery going in overdrive to accommodate whatever opportunities come with associating with the charismatic chairman of internet heavyweight firm Alibaba.

Ma is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce giants.

At this moment our Ministry of Trade and Commerce and Ministry of Tourism could have had their system closing in on the opportunity to tap into the $34.6 billion worth business magnate

Ma quietly proceeded to Mfuwe on a private visit and enjoying the assortment of wildlife and air that this beautiful country has to offer. Nothing more!

From just a cursory look we may wish to remind ourselves that Ma’s investments beyond Alibaba include stakes in Chinese entertainment industry firms Huayi Brothers and Beijing Enlight Media.

It is not his wealth we are celebrating here but rather the fact that we had such a grand opportunity on our doorstep nobody did seem to bother aside from the selfie happy airport staff. Even they should be commended for having a high sense of recognition.

What do the army of Ministry of Tourism top end officials do? Or their Ministry of Trade and Commerce counterparts? Any visitor to the airport would notice that we have an army of Zambia Tourism Board staff, what do they look out for? Have we become so conditioned to condemning anything Chinese that we have lost sight of recognizing? Well just in case anybody has any doubt how seriously aggressive countries smell and utilize opportunities. In Rwanda, Jack Ma walked straight into first class treatment and embodied as an ambassador of Rwandese tourism. He was set at the head of the Visit Rwanda campaign.

Just in case anyone has any doubts how Rwanda turned Ma’s presence into a business opportunity, here is a snippet of it.

The first Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) in Africa was launched on Wednesday in Kigali, opening doors for small businesses in Africa to take part in cross-border electronic trade. The platform is a result of a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Alibaba Group.


During the launch, Rwanda and Alibaba Group signed three agreements to facilitate electronic trade in Rwanda and the rest of Africa

President Paul Kagame officiated at the landmark ceremony which was attended by the Alibaba Group founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma.

The agreements signed in Kigali are intended to strengthen cooperation in support of Rwanda’s economic development by promoting policy innovation, enabling cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers, facilitating tourism to Rwanda, and providing capacity building to empower the growth of Rwanda’s digital economy.

After the signing of the agreements, Ma described the event as a “historic day” because the initiative will revolutionise how Rwandans do business, starting from how they sell their top-notch coffee or handcrafts to how they sell their tourism services to the world, including China.

It could appear that in Zambia it would always have to take the President to ensure that people get to work. What excuse do our bureaucrats at the Ministry of Tourism and also Trade and Commerce have for missing such an opportunity?

A more stinging censure should be reserved for the Foreign Affairs staff and the Zambian Embassy in China embassy staff that may not have smelt an opportunity and alerted the relevant authorities of this grand visit. Is it not why they are deployed in the Foreign Service to identify such grand opportunities?

Well you may also not be surprised in South Africa Ma was shepherded straight to the Presidential Palace where Cyril Ramaphosa made the most of the technology mogul.

Shall we always be crying about opportunities and wooing investors or in our minds it can only be done if it is Zambians visiting? The country really needs a re-look at how indifferent it may be to some golden opportunities.

“We are making new rules for the future, we are making improvements for the world trade,” he said, calling on Rwandan businesses to take advantage of the platforms.

We most certainly feel that the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Zambia National Tourism Board owe the nation an explanation.

Should we really continue accepting this level of mediocrity from the people that are entrusted to run the daily business of government? Or do we always have to wait for the President to bend down to operational matters?

Is it that opposition championed anti-China sentiments have sunk so deep that our people no longer even recognize the opportunities that China presents?

We throw the gauntlet to the public and our followers, to take the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and their counterparts at Ministry of Tourism to task. Someone must explain this or as the more radical brethren love to put it, heads must roll!


  1. Jonh Ma

    If the government went to welcome him… you same guys would start saying Chinese … Chinese so let the government do what you want them to be. They are listening and listening can’t go beyond that action. You’ve tried to separate the government and the Chinese hence that is what it means.

    • John Chi Something

      I totally agree with you my brother. Its like we dont like anything Chinese in Zambia these days so had government chipped in nga mwali umfwako. Tapaba ifisuma pa Zambia.

    • Hammer

      But if government goes and entertain him you will start saying that ZICTA is sold to Alibaba. Mwebantu what do you want?

  2. Jack Ma Yun

    fuck you Zambians panyo panu I just came to fuck from behind one of your cabinet ministers guess who kikikikikiki I fucked her in an elevator at parliament and later in the car park in her GRZ vehicle kakakakakakakakaka she has water in the nyini chitupa chabe

    • Bk

      My The Almighty Creator Help you my Dear Brother

    • Kamon

      The difference between you and the devil are minimal.
      Your bitterness goes beyond Chinama

    • Kas win

      Hay Why such insults instead of an legitimate opinion boi,am sorry but una tukana boi NiMu lolo lolo che.

  3. nshilimubemba

    I was also wondering if ever zambians knew the kind of a person wo had visited them, anyway his title in business was one of the greatest.
    In Rwanda you really saw the manifestation of the giant business executive and he was ; the responce that escaped zambians he wasn’t properly welcome ; zambians didnt see anything in him he was treated like any other visitor who has no impact in society.
    Rwanda got what they got because they recognized what zambians didnt see in this great business icon.

  4. Kas win

    China is thy second world’s biggest Economy and our mother Zambia third or fourth poorest in thy world,but still nobody can make all people happy including China wamene.
    But when it comes to income earnings opportunities my fellow beloved Zambian’s we should be alert .

  5. Bk

    We the young men should draw ourselves closer to such Greater thinkers and entrepreneurs Gentle men all we should long for is information from such guys.Don’t be deceived by the likes of ..
    ..,…….who sold Zccm and today are clamming to be rich

  6. Noise

    Noise Guys

  7. Trevor Pambwe

    Awe no1new his coming so jst it be dat way afterlo yesu aliko to drive our lives.

  8. Tishbite

    I have heard zaffico has been sold to the Chinese, how true is it

  9. Henry m Bwalya

    It seems the opposition propaganda is working while government machinery is too slow or just reactive. Very disappointed patriotic Zambian.

  10. Bamuna

    We are too laid back! Time and opportunity wait for no one.

  11. Kas win

    Time wested is never recovered, fellow beloved Zambian’s let’s live the present and prepare for the future and any kind of opportunities that may come our way,nice one for Jack Ma visiting our country we appreciate for the recognition.

  12. Kas win

    Sorry guys,but Bafikala response for welcoming such people BenZe na HangOver and maybe shy that he’s already in the country but bafwaula and they will face the Consequence’s when its V…. T….

  13. Ben

    It’s just ok cause if they gave him attention you would had said that now the country has been taken over completely .even just taking those selfies at the airports I saw one stupid comment.You know the problem with us Zambians we bring politics where its not necessary that’s the reason why other things ‘ll be passing like this dont blame anyone blame yourself with your senceless politics

  14. Zambian

    I knw now that Zambian are not stable in minds or thinking capacity is low…
    What is better for you?
    See ..yes we all knw that Zambia and China are in relationship and connections… But let’s understand what’s between them… These politicians ,thy are confusing things …to tell you the Truth.. Zambia -china relationship its not to destroy
    Our mother lady but to help us…yes we have rights to talk about the wrong things this Chinese are doing but its us Zambian who are causing that via our talkativeness … Our leaders are scared of our talkative …even Chinese are also scared while they want to help us…
    Zambia is the second from last the poorest country.. China is on position two..on economy data base..
    Please Zambian these politicians thy talk like this to provoke those who are in power…mind you at now .. Not even a single person who can make Zambia beautiful or move on top in economy… Our prayers can be the ladder to improve this country… Not this useless politician…

  15. Kamon

    China will be overtaking the USA as the richest country in the world in the next 10 years.
    The USA does not owe China billions of dollars but trillions of dollars.
    Today the changes that have taken place in Zambia in the past 8years are being appreciated by non-Zambians but Zambians are being taught every day not to appreciate.
    I agree with the first contributor to this article.

  16. ba nzoro

    The same pipo,you ridiculed govt that they got to excited when he visited Zambia, now wat has the govt done wrong?

  17. Josiah bongozozo

    No matter what the life we have in Zambia is hard.the weak in wealth are getting weaker and weaker while the rich are getting richer.where are we going with high poverty levels we have become worshippers.do we really understand our selves.this time we need God more than b4.

  18. Jamah

    Iam very much dissapointed with this guy calling himself JACK MA YUN. Why is he insulting like this? Where is the ZAMBIA POLICE and the Government landing?

  19. Makawa

    Be careful Zambians. Rwanda is always looking for publicity . For your information Rwanda is like a girl who put make up but in natural way she is ugly .life is not all good for Rwandans

  20. Vincent centiago

    one day we will find our selves to be called foreigners in our own country because of these relationship that Zambia is making with other countries….I really wonder wen I go to my nearest town (MAZABUKA) I find that many buildings are written in chaines words, ,my fellow Zambian do we all kno the meaning of those chaines words, we dot kno if they are saying that,,,,,Zambia u are fools,we shud be carefull Zambians and we shud pray hard and harder.

  21. central power

    Who built tazara railine,tazara pipeline,uth,ndola central hospital,unza,cbu,findeco house is it not the ideas of china? I think so …we are busy condeming chinese zambia why……look many youths are being given skills by chinese in carpentry,bricklaying,plumbing etc.a chinese is a good trainer wat is bad from them maybe is low salaries,mannerlism,over working.let us think and not sinking in thinking.a warm welcome is cardinal even to people we hate.muleumfwa tekutukana fye ifimasele.

  22. Jms

    (One) He was allowed in the country (Two) He had a private visit in mfuwe Their for you can’t detect what OCCURRED during all his private visit many things occurred without you noticing SOME PEOPLE YOU DISLIKE THEY JUST RETURN IMMEDIATELY NOW WHY DID YOU ALLOW HIM TO HAVE SOME PRIVATE VISITS We zambians must open our eyes and our ears hear properly Never let the striker penetrate otherwise he may shoot be careful

  23. W. M

    The fact is that Ma met government officials including the President but that was not officially reported because of ant-China sentiment.

  24. Jms

    Thankx w m this occurs in a country of no good leadership you seem neglecting while concluding your selfish deeds

  25. Gunduzani

    Jms u ar ryt we ar jst blinded apa many thngs hapnd behnd that priva visit to mfuwe,we dnt knw anythn we wil knw wen itz hapenin then ther wil be no revase. A human being cn nt change anythn,u wat us to start worshpn jack ma ad 4get God noway let hm be with hz riches our country haz potential itz jst that stealn of ths mney haz gone to mastaz degre

  26. M45

    Its okay!
    We don’t need richest men any more to come and do some investment here, instead CEEC is helping us poor kids earn some chances to ear lots of money!
    We hv all those rich gurus in the mines and the dangotes on board now we need to sharpen our labour tools.
    How it gona be when it will be about 75 contracts from GRZ be for Zambians but even flat building are for Chinese.

    Alibaba group will form a business if they hv noticed what is missing, he hard his note book in his bag i think.

  27. mercutio

    Yes lost opportunity why ba hh naba gbm they dont want chinese nationals to a reason which best suits themselves only…Look at some works the chinese ‘ve done for this country…1 Tuta bridge 2 Mwanawasa bridge 3 Mwanawasa stadium..4 Tazara railway.5 Solwezi bidge & roads around the country…And yet hh & gbm hates this comrades helpin in one way or another.

  28. Tom

    Where you there when TAZARA was built?Where you there when INDENI PIPE LINE was built.? Where you there when TUTOR BRIDGE was built.? do you know why these were built ask your grand father were the money came from,and who sacrifised their lives helping us, nine died by black mamba bites in one day,others from malaria,etc.where were your grand fathers …….

  29. Given Mulenga

    But how blind are we Zambians letting such a person leave like that.I see we are used to seeing millionaires being escorted by body guards and wearing expensive suits not knowing that you’re in the presence of a great man nalesa akesa ififine

  30. hakainde hichilema

    Guys what did Britain built for us nothing only giving us books and teaching us English show me and i will do as wise

  31. Shagi

    The crybabies were gonna scream blue murder thus “THE BUYER OF KKIA is here to assess his prize acquisition”, lol!!!

  32. young slaggur

    fuck u all zambians , fuck u en fuck your yo lyfes u will forever remain poor, u jxt dnt knw wat u have done do u knw the person u never gave attention damme this country is fucked up, luk if u dnt believe in business some of us do ok u jxt throw a great opportunity fr us up coming entrepreneurs fuck,,,

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