Monday, October 21, 2013

Excellent Podcast: Peter Day's World of Business in Zambia

One of the best podcasts that I've heard in a long time was broadcast in two parts last month. The slightly unlikely platform for this insight into African development was Peter Day's World of Business on the BBC.

It seems precisely because Peter Day, an intelligent, experienced broadcast journalist who appears to possess no particular Africa experience and no apparent "aid/development" mindset, comes with his questions and observations without any preconceptions, that he was able to conduct such straightforward, revealing interviews.

What follows over two 20+ minute reports about the inadequate supply of power, drinking water, and transport both within Zambia and crossing its borders, as well as quick, perceptive dives into the country's rocky but stabilizing economic, political, and infrastructural scenes, and how these all interact. The interviews include the US Ambassador and the Zambian Vice President Guy Scott but many are by and large discussions with regular Zambians, from a truck driver, who can drive from South Africa in two days but has to sometimes wait five days sitting around because of transport bottlenecks, to poor people in peri-urban communities of Lusaka searching for clean drinking water.

There is also an insightful analysis of Zambia's copper mining industry, illustrating the challenges of transfer pricing, tax evasion, over-reliance on a single extractive sector with a fluctuating commodity price.

Well-worth listening to both parts of this podcast, first broadcast on 31 August and then 7 September, and available for listening online or download.

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