Analysis: CHAMBO NG’UNI
INDICATIONS are that Central Province can be a reputable economic hub in Zambia if things are done correctly.
This is the province that has abundant natural resources, hence its potential in agricultural producton, agro-processing, mining, tourism, manufacturing, energy, forestry and infrastructure development.
With a population of 1,307,111 and occupying the land area of 108,460 sq km out of Zambia’s total land area of 752,614 sq km, it is centrally located.
Within Zambia, southern Africa and East Africa, Central Province is strategically connected by road and rail (except by air).
From Chitambo to Itezhi Tezhi, each district has unique comparative advantages which are important in repositioning the province as a viable investment destination and economic hub.
Of course, agriculture is the region’s economic mainstay economic sector largely because the province has arable land, fertile soil and climatic conditions favourable for growing different crops, rearing of livestock and promoting fish farming.
Sadly, Central Province has been grappling with developmental inequalities, high poverty levels, unemployment, lack of investment and value addition to agro-produce.
It is in this vein that the province is holding an investment forum and expo from October 8 to 13, 2018 at Mulungushi University main campus in Kapiri Mposhi.
The expo will be held under the theme: “Accelerating investment for inclusive and sustainable development”, and it comes after a similar event held last year by Luapula Province.
Through the expo, the Central Province administration wants to attract local and foreign institutions looking for unique investment opportunities and a favourable investment environment.
Therefore, the expo will be an avenue of linking the province to the rest of the world in promoting investment and sustainable economic growth.
Reducing developmental inequalities, engaging key players in mobilising financial resources for projects, identifying and streamlining comparative sectors to achieve sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development are among the objectives.
To underscore the importance of the expo, Vice-President Inonge Wina said through the event, Government wants to create employment and reduce poverty among its people.
During the launch of the activities of the expo in August in Chisamba, Mrs Wina told the gathering that Government needs to partner with the private sector in creating sufficient jobs, support wealth creation and alleviate poverty.
“Therefore, I wish to commend Central Province for taking this bold step to host this investment forum and expo 2018 that will attract investors, both local and foreign, and help stimulate development in the various key sectors that have been identified,” Mrs Wina said.
“The expo will be a key building block to actualising the Vision 2030 and attainment of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) development objectives without leaving anyone behind,” she added.
The expo, therefore, comes as an opportune avenue which the provincial administration needs to utilise in repositioning the region for economic growth.
Through this event, Central Province’s natural resource endowment and wealth needs to be prudently and sustainably exploited to achieve the desired results.
The author is a Zambia Daily Mail reporter based in Kabwe.
Analysis: CHAMBO NG’UNI