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THE Zambia Development Agency

ZDA decentralisation cardinal for development

DECENTRALISATION of services is cardinal for national development. In particular, the Zambia Development Agency, (ZDA), with its overall mandate to promote both local and foreign trade, is an important institution which needs to spread its operations far and wide.
When services are too distant from the end-users, the service provider may not achieve much and the benefits of trade may elude the nation.
To help investors efficiently contribute to local or international trade, the need for them to access the services offered by ZDA is important in contributing to economic growth.
It is in this respect that ZDA deserves commendation for embarking on a decentralisation programme that will see it establish regional offices.
By the nature of the organisation, ZDA is at the centre of luring investment, which eventually translates into increased trade. So bringing opportunities closer to established and potential investors can only be good for the country.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma has urged ZDA to decentralise its operations by establishing its presence in the 10 provinces to facilitate the development of a private sector-led development.
ZDA was, among other things, created to establish a database of facilities, human resource and their skills, sources of finance, technology, raw materials, machinery, equipment and supplies with view to promoting accessibility of these industries.
Government has long realised the importance of allowing the private sector to take control of the economy and it has created an enabling environment to promote this.
No nation is an island and this is why Zambia has opened up its investment portfolio to all those who are interested in participating in growing the economy, whether they are indigenous Zambians or foreigners.
Zambia is a vast country with abundant natural resources spread throughout and so the investors will be expected to spread their interests to all parts of the country. They are not expected to concentrate on Lusaka.
Of course they cannot be compelled to invest in specific areas, but they are certainly encouraged to tap into areas that are not as notably developed as others.
Greenfield investments should be encouraged, especially in rural parts of the country, where raw materials and labour are in abundance.
To get into these areas, however, the investors need information on which they can base their decisions. They need information that will support their business and ZDA stands at the centre of all this.
The decentralisation of ZDA is therefore paramount for the provision of services to investors so that they do not suffer any inconvenience as they search for information to support their enterprises.
At a time when the emphasis is on diversification, the presence of ZDA in regions is necessary to promote easy access to information on various investment opportunities.
The focus from mining to agriculture requires that investors are availed information about alternative investment opportunities and other benefits that exist in a particular area.
As a way of supporting the diversification, Government has embarked on marketing the vast investment opportunities in our nation through provincial expos. At the moment, Southern Province is holding its expo in Livingstone.
It is imperative that such expos are supported by information on business development support services as one of the sure ways of attaining success.