Zambia will establish about 22 intra-Africa trade centres to boost business in the continent, according to a Government Minister.
Addressing the Africa-America Institute’s 2012 Africa Business Investment Forum, under the theme: ‘Jobs for Africa’s future”, in New York, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga bemoaned the low levels of trade among African countries and called for increase in intra-Africa trade.
“Of all the trade that Africa generates, we only trade with one another to the extent of 11.2 per cent while similar blocs such as the European Union trade with one another beyond 60 per cent,” said MrSichinga, in the accompanyof Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry senior economist Aaron Mutale.
To change the status quo, MrSichinga said Zambia will establish at least one Intra-Africa Trade centre with each of its eight neighbours.
“We have identified 22 locations at which we will be setting up intra-Africa trade centres,” the minister said.
He said Zambia’s peaceful nature, welcoming people and abundant resources make it the prime investment destination and urged foreign investors to explore business opportunities in the country.
He described the many investment opportunities in agriculture production, tourism, manufacturing, mining and hydropower.
“Zambia has the potential to produce more than 10, 000 megawatts of power, but we produce about 2, 000 megawatts right now. There is an opportunity in Zambia to produce the power for local consumption and export,” MrSichinga said.
And in a speech read for him by MrSichinga at the same event, President Michael Satasaid the Zambia-Malawi-Mozambique Growth Triangle, which has been revived, would enhance economic growth in these countries.
“Currently, the three countries have the following investment opportunities for funding and implementation under the initiative: (1) infrastructure development, (2) tourism development, (3) transport and communication, (4) agriculture development, (5) agro-processing, (6) mining, (7) information technology, (8) manufacturing and trade facilitation, among others,” President Sata said.
The head of state informed the investors that Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are all member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), two key trade regional economic bodies.
“Therefore, investors in these three countries enjoy preferential market access to a bigger regional market of over 600 million people, ranging from tip of South Africa in the south to the northern tip of Egypt,” said President Sata. “This is an exciting time to invest in Zambia, Malawi or Mozambique growth triangle.”
The 2012 Africa Business Investment Forum was organized by the Africa-America Institute, a New York-based international education and policy organization dedicated to advancing education and professional training for Africans, and promoting engagement between Africa and America through education, training and dialogue. AAI was founded in 1953.