Editor's Comment

Actualising investment pledges cardinal

LUNGU

SINCE Luapula Province held the inaugural expo in 2017, the country has never looked back.
Following on the heels of the hugely successful Luapula Province Trade and Investment Expo were Central, Northern, Copperbelt and North- Western provinces.
Regional expos, as promotional activities, will help attract potential investors locally and from across the rest of the world.
Expos are important in helping rural provinces unlock their economic potential.
Increased foreign direct investment will spur economic growth, and prosperity through job and wealth creation.
All the expositions, including the Southern Province Investment and Tourism Expo, which ends today, have been a stellar success.
At US$2 billion worth of investment pledges received, the Southern Province expo has hit a jackpot.
Attracting investments of US$2 billion in the energy, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, real estate and mining sectors is a huge success story.
Going by the pledges, the Southern Province will never be the same if they materialise.
Therefore, the task the provincial administration has is that of following up all pledges made yesterday.
It will not do if the pledges will just turn out to be a publicity stunt by individuals and corporates who may have been excited by the presence of President Edgar Lungu and the television cameras.
The Southern Province administration should, therefore, work with the Zambia Development Agency in following up investment pledges.
The Southern Province holds huge potential for economic transformation.
However, there is need to translate the potential into reality so that people in the province can appreciate the significance of holding the expo.
The province is endowed with massive natural resources which remain untapped.
Through this expo, the province showcased its untapped resources to both local and foreign investors.
The expo has, therefore, helped create opportunities for investment, which will trigger unprecedented economic activities in the province, and Zambia in general.
If pledges made in the five provinces where expos have been staged materialise, the rural areas of Zambia will never be the same again.
The trade expos have so far lived to their expectation of opening up all the regions of the country to investment.
This is in line with Government policy to ensure that all the 10 provinces of the country are opened up to investment through provision of various incentives. This will not only enhance competitiveness, but will also spur accelerated economic development for the benefit of all our people.
Officiating at the expo yesterday, President Lungu said it the theme, ‘Accelerating development through value addition and diversification’, is timely as it provides an opportunity to market the province as a tourist destination, as well as potential investment in tourism, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and acquaculture.
President Lungu said it is Government’s desire to see expos yield more tangible results than ending up as mere talk shows.
This is so because the Patriotic Front administration has put in place measures such as policy on economic diversification aimed at creating a conducive environment for business to promote value addition in all the sectors of the economy.
The other regions – Eastern, Lusaka, Muchinga and Western – which are yet to hold the expos, must have learnt a great deal from the other regions.
They, too, will have an opportunity to showcase the investment climates of their regions.
Thanks to expos, Zambia will never be the same again.

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