At the 2019 Investing in African Mining Indaba (Mining Indaba) held in February last year, South African President H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa outlined 10 underlying principles he said promoted all-inclusive growth in the mining industry. The principles put forward by Ramaphosa go a long way in ensuring sustainable growth and long-term value creation.

The nexus between mining and energy is the reason for the existence of CEC, the premier provider of power and energy solutions to the mining industry in Zambia. It is interesting that the principles outlined by President Ramaphosa apply not only to mining and that CEC is well on track to deliver on those principles.

President Ramaphosa’s 10 Underlying Principles

  1. Companies must foster growth in areas where they operate.
  2. Partnerships with local governments are vital; companies should share their knowledge with municipalities, particularly when it comes to infrastructure development.
  3. The mining sector must invest in improving the living conditions of its employees.
  4. There must be investments in education and training.
  5. The mining sector must partner with education institutions and contribute to curricula and provide job training opportunities.
    Beneficiation must be embraced.
  6. Mining companies must invest more in the health and safety of their employees.
  7. Mining must provide internships and job opportunities as well as make SMEs a priority in the supply value chain.
  8. The development of women in mining must be prioritised.
  9. Mining companies must have the courage to include employees in the shareholding of their businesses.

CEC’s delivery on these principles

CEC considers growth not only in numbers but from a broad all-inclusive spectrum encompassing tangible and intangible assets that include natural resources, people, relationships, infrastructure and finances. The Company interacts with these resources and inputs with a way that returns a positive difference which reflects beyond its books. After more than 60 years in existence, the Company has grown its social and relationship capital and nurtured growth through constantly and meaningfully investing in its people and the communities through infrastructure developments, education, health and other support.

Partnership comes naturally to CEC. The Company has partnered with numerous government and non-government institutions on common causes and makes itself available to learn from on any aspect in which it possesses expertise through its vastly qualified, skilled and experienced human capital. When it undertakes public infrastructure projects, for example, it works together with the relevant local authority not only for purposes of following procedure but also to ensure all parties well informed and can participate as need be, and that any knowledge residing with CEC can be shared and passed on. And these are investments that vest in the authorities once completed – schools, hospitals, bridges, bus shelters, public seating and more. Another example of the Company putting money in improving and growing its communities.

Employees are the Company’s greatest asset and CEC recognises that its strategic objectives are achieved, in large part, through leveraging its human capital. The Company’s human capital strategy encompasses talent development, a culture of high performance and leveraging leadership talent. through these three pillars, CEC continues to attract, develop and retain individuals capable of delivering on its business objectives and contributing to the sustainable growth of the business. In addition to building a pipeline of talent, CEC invests the continuous learning and development of its people and uses both monetary and non-monetary recognition to encourage and reward high performance. The Company places a premium on the safety, health and general wellness of its staff and has on-site and offsite facilities, programmes and policies to support this. The importance of human capital to the business moves CEC to extend its health, safety and wellness activities and interventions to the community from where its employees hail.

Education is, perhaps, the biggest recipient of the Company’s social investment on any scale. From the lowest to the highest level and at differing degrees of practicality, CEC has put a lot in educating the nation’s brains with the foresight of providing industry with sufficiently trained and exposed human capital.

From developing whole new university curricula that has never before existed and providing on-site, hands-on facilities for research and learning in renewable energy and power transmission systems at the    country’s top two public universities to providing modern learning and teaching aids, facilities, material and infrastructure, CEC’s contribution to education in partnership with and support of educational institutions is iconic. The Company goes beyond to provide experiential learning opportunities for learners and fresh graduates through its Graduate Development Programme and industrial attachment program.

While the Company’s supply chain ranges from local small-scale businesses to large international corporates and industry leaders, over the years the majority of its purchases in terms of value and quantity have gone to local businesses. CEC deliberately reserves and grants contracts for certain jobs to local small-scale contractors. Not only does this help grow the economy at the grassroot but it also contributes to skills development, capacity enhancement and job creation. 

Broadly and historically in Zambia, studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have been skewed against the female gender. That has permeated into the job market such that industries requiring these skills at their core employ more males than females. CEC has not been spared that disparity because the hiring pool is partial in that respect. To address that, the Company is gradually and meritoriously increasing its female head count in a bid to achieve gender diversity and inclusivity and has developed policies that address imbalances or an environment that would create adverse work conditions for female hires. CEC has a gender dashboard to track performance of key gender-related indices to flag possible gender inequity in recruitment, training and development.

Twelve years ago, CEC put 25% of its share capital on the market and listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange. Five per cent of that was reserved for its employees, to enable them become part owners of the Company they worked for. To date, majority of current and past CEC employees own a stake in the Company. By part-owning the business, they not only relate to the Company as employees but also as shareholders participating in the returns and value that they help create. That is empowerment!

CEC has done and continues to do more to engender, nurture and promote inclusive growth in the energy and mining sectors and industry as a whole, contributing to the country’s economic development.