CHAPADONGO LUNGU, New York
PRESIDENT Lungu has dissected Africaâ€™s economic malaise and offered a panacea based on industrialisation, which Zambia is implementing under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
He said industrialisation is indispensable for countries to achieve sustainable economic growth that is socially-inclusive and environmentally sound.
â€œIt is, therefore, an inevitable solution to bring about the much-needed structural economic transformation.
â€œIndustrialisation-induced structural economic transformation will enable our countries to diversify their economy, raise productivity, create better jobs and increase their competitiveness in the global market,â€ President Lungu said on Saturday during a high-level event on the operationalisation of the 2030 agenda for Africaâ€™s industrialisation.
The President is in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, having already inspired UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon with the speech he delivered to Parliament on September 18.
Mr Lungu noted the incongruity between development and gross domestic product, saying although Africa has recorded high gross domestic product growth rates and significant increase in total trade, the progress has had a limited impact on poverty reduction, livelihoods and access to economic and social opportunities.
â€œAs we have already established, increase in gross domestic product or trade does not equal development. We have to industrialise for meaningful development,â€ he said.
â€œAs a consequence of this jobless growth, unemployment remains high, especially among the youth, particularly for young women. Income inequality is also on the rise,â€ the President said.
He said African countries are committed to diversifying and industrialising as enshrined in the 2063 aspirations.
Despite the strides that have been made in economic growth and expanded trade, the major share of its exports is raw materials.
As a result, President Lungu said the growth has not been sufficient to significantly reduce poverty and unemployment, which remain high, especially among women and the youth.
â€œThe jobless growth is also in part a result of the economic growth being mostly propelled by exports of raw commodity products rather than value-added products. In addition, the export of raw materials renders countries vulnerable to external shocks and commodity price fluctuations,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said countries that are both least development countries and landlocked developing countries are net importers of finished goods, which deprives the continent of economic development that comes with the export of finished goods.
The weak manufacturing base does not allow for local value-addition, which in essence exports jobs to countries that have capacity to add value.
The President also said the increasing dependency on finite primary commodities proportionately increases the fragility of African statesâ€™ economies and strains the environment.
He said primary resource-based development path is unsustainable both in the short and long-term.
He, however, noted the need for support from various partners if African countries were to diversify and industrialise their economies.
The partnerships, he said, should be effective and efficient, with a broad range of stakeholders to implement the necessary policies and practices of change.
President Lungu said technology sharing and transfer is an important component of diversification and industrialisation.
He called upon development partners and the private sector to play an active role in facilitating technology transfer to African countries.
And President Lungu on Saturday held a bilateral meeting with Commonwealth secretary-general Kamalesh Sharma at New York Palace Hotel where the two leaders discussed issues of governance, poverty eradication, women and youthsâ€™ empowerment.
President Lungu said Government is working hard to empower youths and women so that they can participate in the development of the country.
CHAPADONGO LUNGU, New York