ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
METALCO Industries Company Limited, a Kabwe-based firm, has received a US$20 million financial boost to enable it recycle scrap metal into finished products and create 250 additional jobs.
This follows the partnership between International Finance Corporation (IFC), a financial arm of the World Bank Group, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) which have provided an investment support to enable the firm recycle scrap metal to manufacture copper cables, lead-acid batteries, aluminium sheets and various utensils.
IFC vice-president for new business Dimitris Tsitsiragos said the investment in Metalco will help the country maximise the benefit of its natural resources by developing domestic value addition activities, creating jobs and opportunities for traders, producers and entrepreneurs.
During the signing ceremony, Mr Tsitsiragos said there is need to continue encouraging a private sector-driven economy, through financial aid for Zambia to meet its goal of becoming a middle-income country.
â€œAs IFC and OPEC-OFID, we announce an investment of US$10 million each in Metalco. The new capital will help the firm to upgrade environmental standards, expand operations, create over 250 new jobs and support the local economy in Kabwe.
â€œIFC will advise Metalco on energy efficiency, quality control and improving corporate governance,â€ Mr Tsitsiragos said.
And officiating at the event, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said Governmentâ€™s desire is to encourage and support partnerships that promote more foreign direct investments, growth and environmental protection.
â€œGovernment is conducting investment and promotion in capacities of metal fabrication and wood processing to ensure that the country increases its gross domestic product not just in one area, but throughout other sectors.
â€œIt is very important that Zambia being a major copper producer, Government [should] start exporting finished copper products rather than the raw materials and importing finished products,â€ Mrs Mwanakatwe said.
Similarly, Metalco chairman and managing director Hussein Safieddine said the ban by Government on scrap metal exports made the company to rethink its business model.
â€œMetalco is one of Zambiaâ€™s few copper cable and rod manufacturers and the only domestic producer of lead-acid batteries. IFC and OPEC-OFIDâ€™s partnership will enable us contribute to the countryâ€™s goal to accelerate private sector-led diversification and industrialisation,â€ Mr Safieddine said.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka