Nearly a year ago, Zambia, a tiny economy with relatively low commodity prices, voted its first post-independence president to represent the country. His name? Edgar Lungu, a former police chief and foreign affairs minister. He never really seized the national stage, but has become more prominent as he confronts the global economic downturn.
The one-time cop nabbed an enviable business deal: natural gas export to a hungry Japan. The two countries would become partners in jointly developing natural gas fields, with output set to start this month. Just four months ago, Zambia was on the fast track to reliable development, with private sector growth up to 8 percent and increasing numbers of tourists to its resort shores. Then in June, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed, killing all 298 people on board.
Edgar Lungu, writes Fraser Nelson, is no Tony Blair: his party is not liberal and he has not been a champion of international business. Nonetheless, Zambia’s reputation as a market-friendly democracy is at stake.
Let’s talk about it.