Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry
For companies eager to secure a share of the wealth in Zambia's mines, a call on Felix Mutati is obligatory. Mutati oversees much of the investment that drives Zambia's mineral-dependent economy. Increased Chinese and Indian involvement in mining and infrastructure is welcomed by the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) but criticised by the opposition. The divide looks set to continue, as Mutati anticipates foreign direct investment in Zambia will exceed US$3 billion this year.
On a late August trip to Beijing in 2010, Mutati sought funding for the $1.5 bn. Kafue Gorge Lower power plant, which will add 600 megawatts to Zambia's capacity. China's Sinohydro and the China-Africa Development Fund will join the project with Zesco Corporation. Sinohydro is already working to extend the Karibu North Bank station, providing an additional 360 MW. Mutati also met with China Nonferrous Metal Company executives to secure $100 million in additional finance for the Lusaka Sub-Zone of the Chambishi Multi-facility Economic Zone.
Mutati studied accounting at the University of Zambia, graduating in 1981, and later earned his qualifications as a certified chartered accountant in Britain. Returning home, he joined the Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation, rising to become Financial Director of its subsidiary, the National Hotels Development Corporation.
From 1993 to 1998, he was Chief Financial Officer of Zesco, the state power utility. After a few years as a private consultant, he was called to public service by President Levy Mwanawasa, who backed him to run on the MMD ticket for the Lunte constituency. Mutati won the seat in 2001 and has held it ever since.
He became Deputy Minister of Commerce in 2004. In 2006, he led the Ministry of Energy and Water Development. Since 2007, he has been Minister of Commerce, simultaneously holding the position of Vice-Chairman of the Petroleum Committee.