Rural development through industrialisation: a case study of Mansa batteries limited, 1978-1994.

Thumbnail Image
Chola, Kelvin
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
The study traces the origin and development of Mansa Batteries Limited with the view of examining the challenges the Company faced, as well as assessing its socio-economic impact on the people of Mansa and the neighbouring districts. It reveals that the need for regional balancing in terms of allocating industries in the country and the presence of Manganese in Mansa were the major factors which led to the establishment of the battery factory in the area. The study indicates that Spark batteries constituted of mostly imported raw materials; a situation which management through the Company’s Research Committee attempted to turn around by substituting foreign raw materials with local ones. However, the attempts failed to a great extent since most of the raw materials which Mansa Batteries Limited sought to purchase from local suppliers were processed from imported inputs, which made the manufacturers not to venture into commercial production due to difficulties faced in importing such inputs. The study shows that Mansa Batteries Limited faced numerous operational challenges which included capacity underutilisation, machine breakdowns, lack of foreign exchange to purchase foreign raw materials, components and machinery; inadequate qualified personnel and poor product quality. The study reveals that typical of most parastatals in Zambia, Mansa Batteries Limited faced administrative challenges and political interference which largely contributed to its poor performance. Additionally, the study shows that economic problems such as loan repayment obligations, credit sales, Kwacha depreciation and trade liberalisation negatively affected the performance of the Company. The study further demonstrates that the numerous operational, administrative and economic challenges the Company perpetually faced over the years induced liquidity problems which became very serious in 1993, and resulted in frequent closures of the factory in 1993 and 1994, before it was finally placed under receivership by the Development Bank of Zambia in November, 1994.The study argues that in spite of the numerous challenges the Company faced, it had positive economic and social impact on the people Mansa and the neighbouring districts.
Thesis of Master of Arts in History