Investment Forum with MARGARET CHIMANSE
ACCORDING to Investopedia, a leading source of financial content on the web, ranging from market news to retirement strategies and investments, innovation can be defined simply as a “new idea, device or method”.
Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements or existing market needs which is accomplished through more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are readily available to markets, governments and society as a whole.
The same source also defines industrialisation as the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to one based on the manufacturing of goods.
Characteristics of industrialisation include economic growth, more efficient division of labour, and the use of technological innovation to solve problems as opposed to dependency on conditions outside human control.
Therefore, from the definition of the two terms, it is clear that Zambia needs innovation and industrialisation for enhanced economic growth, wealth creation, employment creation and ultimately poverty alleviation.
This reasonates with the mandate of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) focuses on fostering economic growth and development by promoting trade and investment through an efficient, effective private sector led economic strategy.
The Agency further promotes competitiveness of businesses and promoting exports from the country.
In addition, the Agency’s mandate includes 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.
As a build-up on its mandate, the Agency developed the 2016- 2020 plan which re- focuses the direction the agency to match the changing business environment domestically and internationally.
The plan puts forward an overarching ambitious programme for the Agency to “transform business for the benefit of Zambians”.
The Agency’s aspiration is derived from the Government’s long term vision of creating a prosperous middle income nation by 2030 that feeds into the Agency’s goal of contributing to the creation of wealth and one million jobs by 2020.
High on ZDA’s priority list especially in the period 2016 -2020 is to enhance participation of local businesses in economic development of regional and rural areas.
This is being achieved through decentralisation of the Agency’s operations and by a more customer-centric approach to delivering on the Agency’s mandate. The improved environment for doing business across the nation will enhance local participation and balance the country’s economic development.
Based on the Vision and Mission as well as the changing business environment, ZDA identified high level government goals that would serve to focus and prioritize its work which are creating new jobs, local business participation in regional and rural development and capacity building of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises.
Others are economic diversification and increased Non- Traditional Exports; and attracting foreign and local investment into strategic infrastructure and competitive sectors.
To contribute to these high-level goals, ZDA identifying and building the capacity of small businesses with ambitious leaders and capital for growth.
In particular ZDA is supporting small businesses in Non-Traditional Export sectors, and in line with broader government policy statements, is ensuring that businesses outside Lusaka, and businesses owned and managed by women receive particular special attention.
Further, the Agency is identifying and engaging with capable and experienced exporters in competitive sectors that can deliver in high-growth and high-value markets, in particular where there is a strong multiplier for Zambia through job creation and supply chain integration.
In this vein, the ZDA conducts market research in various countries where Zambian products and services have a competitive advantage. It also facilitates trade missions to introduce Zambian products and services to new markets in order to win new markets and maintain the foothold in existing markets.
Some of the markets the Agency is exploring include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and regional market which include Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the European Union market.
The Agency is further identifying and engaging with existing and potential investors, with a particular focus on investments of strategic value into infrastructure, non-traditional exports and under-developed regions.
In promoting investments, ZDA facilitates investment incentive both fiscal and non-fiscal particularly to investors in the infrastructure, energy, tourism, manufacturing and agro processing sectors.
However, for investments to access fiscal incentives, they need to invest not less than US$500,000 and the project must be located in either the Multi Facility Economic Zone, an Industrial Park, or in a Rural Area.
The fiscal incentives include Zero percent tax rate on dividends for five years from first year of commencement of operations, Zero percent tax on profits for five years from the first year of operation and Zero percentage import duty on capital equipment and machinery for five years.
In addition, the investors are entitled to non-fiscal incentives which include facilitation of land acquisition, investor permits and an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA).
For more information, contact the manager for Communications and PR, ZPA House, Nasser Road, P.O. Box 30819. Tell: 0211-229240.