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President Edgar Lungu commits to development

Investment Forum with MARGARET CHIMANSE
GOVERNMENT says it remains focused in facilitating a conducive business and investment climate to ensure private sector-led development. President Lungu said this at his inauguration ceremony as sixth President of the Republic Zambia in Lusaka on September 13.
The President was determined that the country will push even more vigorously to consolidate the transformative development agenda. He said where private sector participation will not be realised at the desired rate, Government will apply a mix of policy and legislative interventions aimed at enhancing development.
“We must now re-define the word investor to mean ourselves. In my humble opinion, our first point of investment in this democratic enterprise must, as of necessity, begin with investing in ourselves,” President Lungu advised.
In order to encourage home-grown industries to thrive President Lungu declared Kafue town an iron and steel facility economic zone. “I am beseeching my compatriots to develop this facility into a centre of excellence for local industries,” he said.
The economic facility zone is meant to induce the revamping of the economic status of Kafue and spearhead the industrialisation programme for Zambia as a whole. This is the model of what Government intends to do countrywide to facilitate the emergence of home-grown industrialisation.
The President charged that the country must begin to conclusively wean the economy from the current copper-mining dominated mono-economy.
“In this new dispensation, we must promote and sustain agriculture to become one of the main drivers of our diversification programme,” President Lungu noted.
He said that in order to sustain the country’s industrialisation and agriculture efforts, there must be continued development of support infrastructure such as feeder roads, railways, waterways and begin generating energy from other potential sources while preserving the environment and minimising the cost of doing business.
President Lungu disclosed that his new administration will pursue nuclear technology as part of the diversified sustainable energy mix to power our economy.
Investors have begun a promising exploration project for oil and gas somewhere in the north of the country, in block 31, which presents a great opportunity to exploit this energy source for development.
The President urged the citizens to re-double their efforts at indigenising investment in science and technology research, in development and in innovation. He noted that in order to make the Zambian economy self-sustaining, the country must first produce local, buy local then export more.
President Lungu called on each and every citizen to contribute to national development. However, he said without peace and stability in the nation the country’s development and achievements could easily be undermined.
“It is only in a peaceful environment that we can build on our achievements and attain greater prosperity for all,” the President said.
The declarations of the President in this landmark speech truly resonate with the mandate and aspirations of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), whose mandate is to promote Zambia’s economic development.
In the ZDA’s blueprint for the period 2016 to 2020, the agency is focusing on “Transforming business for the benefit of Zambians”. Based on the mission, vision as well as the challenges and opportunities, the agency has identified five goals which are: creating new jobs; facilitating local business participation in regional and rural development and capacity building of micro, small and medium enterprises.
The other goals are economic diversification; increased non-traditional exports and attracting local and foreign investments into strategic infrastructure and competitive sectors. In identifying and building capacity for small businesses, the agency is supporting small businesses in the non-traditional export sector.
To realise these goals the agency promotes and facilitates the development and growth of the local enterprises especially, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to accelerate industrialisation and economic diversification.
The agency also facilitates the provision of business development services that include training aimed at building capacity of local enterprises, provision of market information, business linkages, and facilitation of joint ventures, partnerships of local and foreign enterprises.
Currently, the agency is in collaborating with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct business linkages forums around the country to link small enterprises to large companies as well as financing institutions.
In addition, ZDA is engaging with capable and experienced exporters in competitive sectors that have the potential to deliver high growth and high value markets in particular where there is a strong multiplier for Zambia through job creation and supply chain integration.
Subsequently, the declaration of Kafue as an iron and steel economic facility zone shows the commitment that Government has to spur industrialisation and growth and the agency is positioning itself to make this a reality. ZDA is also identifying and engaging with existing and potential investors with particular focus on investments of strategic value into infrastructure, non-traditional exports and under-developed regions.
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