IT IS a rare feat for any country to fully develop without sustained structural transformation to an industrial or service-based economy.
Industrialisation is actually the bedrock on which development is built and thrives.
This is because with industrialisation comes more industries as the name denotes and subsequently an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and business investment.
Industrialisation also nurtures technological advancements and dynamism, improves human skills and creates skilled jobs.
Through inter-sectoral linkages, industrialisation provides the foundation on which both agriculture and services can expand.
It is also through industrialisation that decent jobs can be created thereby expanding the income needed for social investments and subsequently uplifting the living standards of the masses.
In a nut shell, industrialisation improves the living standards of people and significantly contributes to economic growth.
The need for any country, including Zambia, to embrace industralisation cannot therefore be overemphasised.
It is for this reason that Government has, under the leadership of President Lungu, embarked on an industrialisation agenda in a bid to transition the country from a developing to a developed economy.
The government’s industrialisation and job creation agenda and key strategic goals are to raise productivity and strengthen trade competitiveness, to expand non-traditional exports and reduce vulnerability to copper.
Other goals include the creation of a business-friendly environment to support diversification and industrialisation while improving nutrition.
To effectively transform to an industrialised economy, Government is fully aware that the private sector plays a pivotal role as the primary driver of economic growth and employment creation.
If the private sector is to effectively drive economic growth, a favourable business environment, industrial policies and a system of incentives must be put in place.
This is what Government has been striving to provide with the help of international development partners.
We are happy that some of Government’s efforts aimed at promoting industrialisation and private sector development have started bearing fruit.
One such effort is the preparation and submission of a US$1 billion Zambia strategy paper aimed at securing resources from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for development purposes.
Zambians have reason to look to the future with optimism because AfDB has just approved the US$1 billion Zambia strategy paper, which focuses on private sector development to support Government’s industrialisation and job creation agenda.
The 2017-2021 country strategy paper reflects Zambia’s middle income country status and its reclassification to “blend’ in 2014, which makes it eligible for the AfDB’s concessional and non-concessional resources.
AfDB country manager Damoni Kitabire said the strategic paper, which is hinged on an integrated approach with two complementary pillars, is in line with the bank’s 10-year strategy of supporting infrastructure development, agriculture and food security.
The first pillar focuses on infrastructure development which supports water and sanitation, energy and transport while the second one weighs in on the private sector enterprise development and agriculture as key.
Mr Kitabire also said the strategy specifically underscores the “High-5s priorities such as Light-up and Power Zambia, Feed Zambia and Industrialise Zambia”.
The approval of the strategic paper is indicative of the confidence that international development partners have in our economy.
This is because the strategy was developed to reflect Zambia’s improving economic situation after a period of economic headwinds and regional drought that led to rapidly expanding fiscal imbalances and severe power shortages which affected the private sector in 2015 and 2016.
The approval of the strategy will no doubt help accelerate Zambia’s industrialisation agenda.