Investment Forum with MARGARET CHIMANSE
THE Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which is the country’s blue-print for development for the next five years, up to 2021, brings out ambitious plans to make Zambia a prosperous middle-income economy that offers decent employment opportunities for all Zambians.
The plan envisions a prosperous middle-income economy that offers decent employment opportunities for all Zambians of different skills and background and will be achieved by harnessing opportunities for economic diversification and growth.
It is a building block formulated to meet the goals contained in the Vision 2030.
The Vision 2030 is a long-term plan that expresses the aspirations of the Zambian people to live in a strong and dynamic, middle-income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all.
It embodies values of socio-economic justice underpinned by the principles of gender-responsive, sustainable development; democracy; respect for human rights; good traditional and family values; positive attitude towards work; peaceful co-existence; and public-private partnerships (PPPs).
The Vision 2030 outlines long-term national and sector goals for attaining desirable socio-economic indicators, to fulfil the Zambian people’s aspirations. Once implemented, the vision positions Zambia as an economy which is competitive, self-sustaining, dynamic and resilient to any external shocks, supports stability and protection of biological and physical systems and is free from donor dependence.
Added to these aspirations, Zambia is expected to have stable social and cultural systems that support human capital formation.
This Plan largely resonates with the mandate of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), which includes the facilitation of the economic development of Zambia by promoting investment and competitiveness of businesses and promoting exports from the country.
The agency is also responsible for building and enhancing the country’s investment profile for increased capital inflows, capital formation, employment creation and promoting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector by working with Government to create an investment climate that can propel long-term sustainable domestic growth.
Further, in line with the aspirations of the 7NDP to modernise agriculture to improve productivity and prioritise value addition through agro-industries as the bedrock of transitioning to an industrialised economy, the agency is promoting investments in the various farm blocks dotted around the country such as the Nansanga Farm Block.
Zambia’s comparative advantage lies in its endowment of renewable and natural resources which can be productively harnessed. Overall good climate and soils make organic and climate-smart agriculture and processing poised for growth.
The natural beauty makes tourism unique. As one of the most water-rich countries in Africa with a high intensity of sunshine, renewable energy generation from hydro and solar becomes competitive.
Low-cost green-housing and construction have competitive edges because of the perfect soils for stabilised earth blocks.
Forestry and fisheries also have high potential if sustainably managed. In addition to integrating development across key sectors for pro-poor economic growth, tackling vulnerabilities is poised to reduce social exclusion.
The plan further reveals that Zambia has to make fundamental policy shifts if the country is to achieve the objectives of the Vision 2030. Achieving these objectives is essential to repositioning the Zambian economy onto growth and development, in a manner that makes the country less susceptible to both domestic and external shocks.
According to the plan, accelerating economic diversification for shielding the economy from the effects of adverse commodity price fluctuations is cardinal.
Progress towards diversification should show a much bigger reduction in the contribution of mining to the gross domestic product and increases in other sectors.
In this vein, the ZDA is complementing Government’s efforts through the promotion of non-traditional exports (NTEs) using various strategies like market research to identify new markets for Zambian NTEs markets. Recently, the agency undertook market research in Mozambique, Malawi and Angola which revealed enormous trade opportunities for Zambia.
In addition, the agency facilitates the participation of the Zambian private sector in international trade fairs and exhibitions to capture new markets as well as maintain the foothold in already existing markets.
Secondly, the plan proposes building a strong manufacturing and industrial base, which is key to building a strong export-oriented economy that can create resilience in the economy to both external and domestic shocks.
This is crucial to ensuring a stable foreign exchange, enhanced foreign currency reserves, stable inflation, more decent jobs and an expanded capital base for the economy, among other things.
A strong manufacturing and industrial base also helps in forging backward and forward linkages between primary, secondary and tertiary industries and ensures sustained circular flow of resources within the economy while bolstering job creation.
In the same vein the ZDA is promoting investments in the priority sectors, which include manufacturing, construction, tourism, agro-processing and energy.
According to the ZDA Act, investments in the priority sectors and in either a rural area, multi-facility economic zone or an industrial park with an investment of over US$500,000, investors are entitled to fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.
And in promoting graduation of micro and small to medium-scale enterprises for the growth of MSMEs and job creation, ZDA is facilitating the growth of MSMEs through trainings aimed at capacity building and other business support development services.
For more information:
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ZPA House, Nasser Road
P O Box 30819, Lusaka
Tel: 0211- 229240