By Alexander Nkosi

I’m very positive we can overcome the challenges related to foreign exchange reserves and debt servicing. We pay our foreign debt in dollars. If we are not earning more dollars from exports, this puts pressure on our reserves. The solution is simple, we need to get more dollars into the country and reduce on dollars going out of the country.

This week, I’m going to spend time looking at ways of earning and keeping dollars in the country. Before I look at our enhanced manufacturing agenda, allow me to think outside the box and reintroduce the marijuana discussion.

Zambia has structures under ZNS that can allow for mass production of marijuana under secured state farms. This is something we should prioritise before the market is flooded as more countries are getting into this. We can start with ZNS and latter on issue licenses to private firms that meet set standards.

According to a report (“2019 Update to The State of Legal Marijuana Markets”) released on Monday, Jan. 15, by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, global consumer cannabis spending is expected to skyrocket by 38% in 2019 to $16.9 billion, up from an estimated $12.2 billion in 2018, $9.5 billion in 2017, and $6.9 billion in 2016. Furthermore, compound annual sales growth between 2017 and 2022 is expected to clock in at 26.7%, with the report calling for $31.3 billion in global marijuana sales in 2022.

We have the capacity to earn $500 million per year as early as next year, growing to $1 billion in the coming years. We have to move out of our comfort zone and try out new things.


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