SADC gives member states survival tips

A CONVOY of trucks headed for the Chililabombwe-Kasumbalesa border cause a traffic jam in Chingola recently. Due to heightened measures to screen for the coronavirus, long-distance truck drivers have to be certified free of COVID-19 before they can proceed to their destinations. PICTURE: CHONGO SAMPA

TO RESUSCITATE economies and improve competitiveness, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called on member states to develop road maps and action plans prioritising investments and channelling scarce resources to identified economic sectors.
According to SADC, the re-launched strategies should be premised on the existing SADC macroeconomic convergence programme.
To minimise the impact of coronavirus on the SADC economy, member states have instituted a number of socio-economic policies and measures, which include suspension of non-essential economic activities, increased spending in the health sector, social safety nets, and economic stimulus packages, among others.
These policies and measures have far-reaching implications on fiscal positions and debt sustainability
“The increase in the number of lockdown days and international travel restrictions imposed at the peak of the coronavirus crisis has significantly affected economic activities, education, tourism, aviation, major stock market indices and other sectors of the economies globally,” reads the report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the SADC economy.
The regional block has also observed that COVID-19 is squeezing advertisement revenues for media and entertainment industry as companies reprioritise expenditures to preserve resources in the face of uncertainty.
It adds that if the pandemic persists, this may lead to a significant reduction or drying up of corporate sponsorship.
SADC explains that as pressure mounts, industries are moving swiftly to build resilience, while governments are mobilising to safeguard citizens and manage the social and economic fallout.
SADC cites tourism and leisure, aviation and maritime, automotive, construction and real estate, manufacturing, education and the oil industry as sectors that have been severely impacted by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, to enhance the uptake of technology, the Information and Communications Technology of Zambia (ICTAZ) has called for establishment of ICT manufacturing plants across the country in a bid to provide cheap digital devices.
ICTAZ president Karim Mutembo said in the wake of COVID-19, more Zambians are using digital platforms.
He said short-term measures such as waiving taxes on ICT products could enhance accessibility of internet facilities.
“The country needs to establish an ICT manufacturing plant as a long-term solution to cheap digital devices such as smartphones and laptops,” Mr Mutembo said in an interview yesterday.
He said the development of Zambia’s economy is dependent on reliable ICT and cheap internet connectivity.
Mr Mutembo said Zambia’s central location provides an opportunity to be the ICT hub in the region.
He called on Government to ensure ICT policies encourage establishment of manufacturing plants to promote local products by offering incentives to Zambian businesses.

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