Investment Forum with MARGARET CHIMANSE
THE Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) says industrialisation is key to Zambiaâ€™s development agenda. The agencyâ€™s aspiration is derived from Governmentâ€™s long-term vision of creating a prosperous middle -income nation by 2030.
This is in line with the agencyâ€™s 2016-2020 strategic plan goal of contributing to the creation of wealth and one million jobs by 2020.
ZDA director general Patrick Chisanga said this after an industrial tour of the Copperbelt and Luapula provinces aimed at monitoring the progress on the implementation of strategic investment projects facilitated by the agency.
The main investment projects that were visited are Mansa Sugar Limited in Chembe, Luapula Province, Superdoll in Ndola, Strongpak and Sakiza Spinning Mills in Kitwe on the Copperbelt Province.
Superdoll is a company specialised in retreading heavy industrial mining and agricultural tyres, and manufacturing trailers and other accessories to world-class standards.
Monitoring of investment projects around the country is an important part of ZDAâ€™s mandate and is conducted regularly.
Mr Chisanga notes that industrialisation is fundamental to a developing country like Zambia as it is the engine for the creation of employment, wealth, technical skills and the development of technology.
Industrialisation is defined as a transition of an economy from primarily agrarian to mainly manufacturing and industry. It is generally thought to be a reflection of a growing economy and is associated with income growth, urbanisation, and improvements in health and standards of living for the people.
Mr Chisanga says by exporting raw materials, the country exports jobs to those countries that have manufacturing plants and processing industries.
He adds that for a long time, Zambia has limited herself to exporting primary products such as copper and cobalt, and other minerals without value addition.
Mr Chisanga explains that it is for this reason that Government formulated the industrialisation and job creation strategy as a vehicle for the acceleration of economic development.
Currently, the investment framework identifies priority sectors for investment and provides specific tax and non-tax incentives for firms investing in these sectors.
It is because of the foregoing that ZDA is focusing its energies on attracting new investments in the priority sectors to help Zambia industrialise and create jobs for her people.
One of the recent greenfield projects the agency is proud to be identified with is the US$40 million Mansa Sugar project in Chembe, Luapula Province, which is expected to start operating in 2018.
Mr Chisanga says ZDA is facilitating the Mansa Sugar project through the provision of comprehensive support in land acquisition, tax rebates, immigration permits for specialised skilled expatriates, and other related non-fiscal support services.
â€œMansa Sugar Limited will be involved in the growing of sugarcane and process it into sugar and the molasses into ethanol,â€ disclosed the director general.
The project is strategically located to target the vast export markets in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.
The Greenfield project is taking development in the rural part of the country and creating jobs for the people of Chembe, thereby complementing Governmentâ€™s efforts of promoting balanced development as a strategy to curb rural urban migration.
Mr Chisanga notes that Mansa Sugar targets to create over 1,000 jobs for the people of Zambia in the initial phase, within a period of two years. It is also anticipated that the project will enhance local businessesâ€™ value chains in Luapula Province, similar to Zambia Sugar in Southern Province.
He adds that there are possibilities of developing out-grower schemes that will result in local participation in the project.
Mr Chisanga reveals that the main focus of Mansa Sugar is the export market since Zambia already sugar. This will in turn earn the country the much-needed forex and stimulate the growth of export-oriented industrialisation.
â€œThe ethanol that will be produced from the molasses is an important component in blending with fuel. This is expected to result in the cost of fuel in the country to drop by about 25 percent when the country fully adopts the blended fuel technology,â€ explained Mr Chisanga.
Currently, Mansa Sugar is still planting nursery fields of the sugar cane that will be used in the factory in 2018.
He notes that there is complete rule of law in the country and all large investments are protected by Investment promotion and protection agreements.
He adds that agriculture and industrialisation will boost the countryâ€™s development programme as minerals such as copper and others are wasting assets.
For more information, contact the manager, communications and public relations, ZPA House, Nasser Road, P.O: Box 3081. Telephone: 0211-229240
Investment Forum with MARGARET CHIMANSE