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Hakainde Hakainde

$30 million USAID investment welcome

IN EFFORTS to attract investment and boost Zambia’s trade with the international community, President Hakainde Hichilema travelled to South Africa in January and met various business leaders, including those from the United States (US). It is those engagements with American business gurus in Johannesburg that have attracted a US$30 million investment in Zambia by USAID over the next five years. The US$30 million will be pumped in increasing market intelligence, facilitating trade, and attracting investment in all sectors of the economy, primarily in agriculture. This investment was announced yesterday by US Ambassador to Zambia Michael Gonzales during the opening of a two-day inaugural US business summit to explore investment opportunities between Zambia and America. The conference is a fulfilment of a request President Hichilema made in Johannesburg to American business leaders to come and invest in Zambia as it is an attractive investment destination of choice. Mr Gonzales is happy that Zambia is also implementing pro-growth policies because economic development comes from investment and the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of the private sector. The American Embassy in Lusaka is engaging Zambian businesses and Government to help attract foreign investment, develop entrepreneurs’ capacity, and reduce barriers for private sector growth. “We applaud President Hichilema for setting up the Public Private Dialogue Forum, a platform that is already identifying and finding solutions to the challenges businesses face across multiple sectors,” Mr Gonzales said.
All these undertakings are chiefly as a result of President Hichilema’s international travels from which the country is already reaping the benefits. Although some perpetual critics of the new dawn administration have been casting aspersions on the head of State’s foreign travels, it is simple arithmetic that the paybacks of such trips far outweigh the cost of undertaking them.
Yesterday, President Hichilema was in the coastal town of Namibia where he participated in the Swakopmund International Trade Expo because of his desire to increase opportunities for Zambia’s engagement in international trade. Trade and investment are vital ingredients for any country’s development, no wonder Mr Hichilema has been making such frantic efforts.
Trade and investment help countries develop their economies by, among other things, creating jobs and generating income for people. They also facilitate consumers’ and businesses’ access to a wider range of high-quality products, and are pivotal in cutting prices of goods and services. Other benefits of trade and investment are making capital available for investment, greater transfer of technology, and increased access to global capital, goods, and services by domestic firms. To further promote trade and investment, President Hichilema recently launched the Public Private Dialogue Forum, which has won him accolades from local and foreign stakeholders. This was after realising that other than him playing the role of Zambia’s chief marketing officer wherever he travels, private sector participation is key in the country’s development process. In most countries, the private sector is the major component of national income and main employer and creator of jobs. Over 90 percent of jobs in developing countries are in the private sector. The pace of job growth and the quality of employment in the private sector are thus central to development. The private sector is the engine of growth. Hence, successful businesses drive growth, create jobs, and pay the taxes that finance services and investment in a country. We therefore applaud USAID for choosing to invest US$30 million in Zambia’s different sectors of the economy. We urge other foreign entities to come and invest in Zambia because the country has a conducive environment for businesses to flourish.