Vulture Funds

April 25, 2007

Vulture FundsAs if Zambian politicians didn’t have enough problems effectively managing public funds, a private company which bought up debt several years ago recently tried to claim $55 million from the public coffers. A portion of Zambia’s debt was bought up by a company called Donegal International for $3.3 million. They tried to claim $55 million from the Zambian government, but a British Court reduced this to $15 million.

It’s quite a bizarre way to make a profit, so if you want to take action on these so-called ‘Vulture Funds’ then you can write to Donegal International’s Michael Sheehan and tell him to drop this claim against Zambia. Click here to go to Oxfam’s site and write the nice man a letter.


One of the shocks for overseas people coming to work here is the slow pace at which things get done. Bureaucracy and a massive capacity for doing bugger all mean that things that would take a stressed out Brit about 10 minutes to get done can take several months.


We were all shocked then, when last month the government caved into pressure from the gender equality lobby and declared a public holiday for International Women’s Day with only hours to go. Everybody snapped into action to spread the message of this impromptu day off and made sure that they definitely would not go to work the next day.


Its not so much that Zambians are lazy, as the huge loads carried on bicycles show, but that they don’t seem to get bored with inactivity. 10 young people will happily sit in our office for hours on end, doing literally nothing. If they have malaria then they put their heads down and rest, but the rest of the time they can fill sitting and staring. Its also not that they don’t want to do anything, but more that they’re not sure what to do. If I give them a mundane task they will leap to get it done, but if they’ve got to come up with their own tasks they seem to struggle.


There is very little exposure to external creative influences although both Craig David and Westlife have recently penetrated the Zambian music scene so watch this space.So Unbelievable