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Zambia gets its first white vice president since independence in 1964

The decision by Zambian President Michael Sata to appoint a white Zambian politician, Guy Scott, sends reassuring signals to Zambians that their country has moved beyond post-colonial anger.

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And while Scott is white, his politics are informed by a long association of his family with Zambian nationalists who fought for separation from British colonial rule. Scott, who was born in the Zambian city of Livingstone – across the river from the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls – joined active politics in 1990 as a member of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, and later switched to the Patriotic Front of Michael Sata.

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His late father, Alexander Scott, an ally of Zambian nationalists, was a founder of anti-colonial-government newspapers including the African Mail, which became the government-owned Zambia Daily Mail.

“I am deeply honored because I know it’s a popular appointment,” Scott told reporters after his appointment. “Everybody has been saying to me, we have been expecting it, we are looking forward to it and people have been so celebratory, just the few people I have met. So I feel very honored to be very popular, if you like, in this position. I will do my damn best to do right for the people who put me here.”

Rich in minerals such as copper, gold, and cobalt, and thought to have a potential for oil exploration, Zambia has been a destination of investors from many developed countries and registers thousands of companies every year, according to Zambia Development Agency reports. But populist politics – including threats to chase out Chinese investors – and the costs of doing business in a landlocked African nation still can be impediments to sustained foreign investment.

David Brentford, a British investor working as commercial manager of a group of companies that handle transport, mine construction, and agriculture, says Scott’s appointment shows “a lot of openness and transparency. At the end of the day, it’s the best man for the job. Color is not an issue any more. It’s forgotten. You know, colonialism is gone. It’s finished. And we need African countries to become strong and prosperous.”

“It sends a very strong message in terms bolstering investor confidence in Zambia,” Mr. Brentford adds. “The rest of the world wants to invest in Africa; the only continent that can grow is Africa. America is saturated, Europe is saturated. Japan, Taiwan, and China are saturated. People have to invest in Africa. That’s the only way you are going to grow, to invest money, and to grow money, you have to come to Africa. And [Scott’s appointment] sends a message across to the rest of the world. It is only good news, absolutely.”

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