Editor's Comment

Industrialisation way to economic growth

PART of Lusaka City centre.

GLOBAL trends show that industrialisation is the engine that propels economic development of any country, including those that are underdeveloped.
The historical facts reveal that all the developed countries of the world broke the vicious circle of underdevelopment by industrialisation.
Taking a study of the growth paths of most developed countries in the world such as France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada, and Russia, one thing that is common to all these countries is industrialisation.
Industrialisation is therefore the path that any country that genuinely and passionately desires development must take.
President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) government are alive to this fact, hence their target to turn Zambia into a manufacturing hub.
Since the PF government took office, it has been working to create a conducive environment for investment with a bias towards manufacturing.
The policy direction of the PF government has been to boost investments in the value addition to local primary materials with increased citizen participation.
The recent commissioning of the Zambia Sugar product alignment refinery plant is among the numerous testimonies to this fact.
The US$90 million plant, apart from raising Zambia Sugar’s production from 45,000 tonnes to 92,000 tonnes, is also expected to create 500 jobs.
It is such ventures that will help get and sustain Zambia on the path of industrialisation and subsequently a regional hub.
We agree with President Lungu that Zambia has potential to become a manufacturing hub for the region not only for sugar but for a wide range of products.
Zambia is endowed with vast natural resources such as abundant land, water, rich minerals, among others, as well as a competitive labour force.
Zambia has a whole lot of investment opportunities in food processing, textiles and clothing, mineral processing, chemical products, engineering, leather products, electrical goods, pharmaceutical products and packaging materials.
For instance, in food processing, specific areas Zambia can exploit include the growing and processing of oil seeds, the downstream processing of livestock products especially in the beef and dairy industries, and there is also potential for fish processing activities such as canning.
Zambia also needs to take advantage of the yawning market in the region by adding value to the maize thereby exporting maize products such as mealie meal, cornflakes and many others instead of exporting the grain which will earn the country less foreign exchange.
The Government has laid a good foundation on which industrialisation can thrive through its massive infrastructure development programme. This has seen places which were once inaccessible become accessible thereby opening up trade opportunities locally and internationally.
Being centrally located in the southern Africa region, Zambia has access to a huge and readily available market for its finished products.
While domestic demand factors provide ready local markets for manufactured goods, the country’s membership to regional organisations such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) provide export markets in the region for the value-added manufactured products.
Actually Zambia can go beyond just becoming a regional hub by taking advantage of the market opportunities in other international markets through various market access agreements that the country has signed such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), among others.
While the Government has a clear stance of prioritising industrialisation as the engine for economic and human development in the country, there’s need for change of mindset among Zambians to be able to realise this vision.
Zambians need to rise to the challenge and ensure that they start investing in the manufacturing sector as well as supporting locally produced products for this is the only way we are going to develop as country.
For those who have gone the route of industrialisation, the results are evident through very high gross domestic product, economic stability, a wealthy middle class, developed infrastructure and increased foreign exchange through more exports.
President Lungu is right, industrialisation is definitely the way to go if Zambia is to transition to a developed country.

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