Opportunity 2001

Written By: The Lowdown - Feb• 01•01

smallcover2001-02Many people have been looking toward to 2001 with uncertainty and anxiety, mainly because it is an election year.  But 2001 may well turn out to be the year of opportunity for business people in Lusaka with two major events – the Solar Eclipse on 21 June, followed closely by the Organisation of African Unity Summit from 2 to 11 July.

Preparations have begun, although possibly a bit late, on work for the Summit and there are business opportunities a-plenty.  Lusaka City Council has also started work on cleaning up the city, although why this can be done all the time is beyond me.

Fifty-three countries have confirmed their attendance at the Summit and each delegation will consist of an average of fifty people.  Is maths is not your strong subject, that is an influx of two thousand, six hundred and fifty people.  Add to that the press and other interested people of between four and five hundred, so you’re looking at more than three thousand people.  These people need to be accommodated, fed, watered, transported and entertained.  They will also need courier, Internet and telephone services and will also want to spend some of their excess Kwachas on souvenirs and gifts to take back home.

At this time, it looks as if Lusaka has accommodation through the hotels and lodges for one thousand, five hundred people, so opportunities do exist for people to accommodate visitors in their own homes or if you were planning to set up a guesthouse, do it now.  This is over and above the OAU Village that is being built behind the Hotel Intercontinental to accommodate the Heads of State.

Vehicles are needed for the Ministers that will be attending the Summit and possibilities exist for leasing of vehicles, but so as to avoid any problems, all the vehicles allocated to Ministers need to be the same, not only the make, but the colour as well.   Cars and buses are also needed for other members of the delegations, all on twenty-four hour call.  It has been suggested though that if you are in the car hire business, you should only hire cars with drivers rather than self-drive.

Cell phones are no longer a luxury, and those in this line of business would do well to make phones available for lease.  The question of course is whether our telephone infrastructure can handle this – we all know how difficult it is to get through to cell phones now.

The Summit will be held at Mulungushi Conference Centre, where catering and fast food outlets will be required, also on a twenty-four hour basis.  Provision is also being made for businesses to lease exhibition space there.

Of course, these people are not going to be working all the time, and will need to be entertained, so bands, theatres and night clubs or anybody witanything unique should get moving with their plans.

Co-ordination is being done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and if you require any further information, this is where you would find it.

Lusaka Lowdown will be printing an extra thick edition that month, to inform our visitors of where they can go and what they can do and where they can spend their money.  In addition to that, a minimum of five copies will be given, free, to each delegation, so let us have the information of events so that it can be included.

This opportunity is not only knocking, it’s leaning on the doorbell, and it is up to us to open the door.

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