Lopes, Zambian President discuss value chains, integration & youth

Lusaka, Zambia, 24 June 2015 (ECA) - ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes held talks with Zambian Republican President Edgar Lungu during his two-day state visit to Zambia.

During a meeting, Mr. Lopes urged the Government of Zambia to study specific value chains in their totality citing good practice from other African member States. “Zambia should study value chain per value chain from A-Z and master the market, this is what Ethiopia has done with coffee and the results are incredible.” said Lopes who also called upon the government to implement specific, non generic policies arguing that incremental changes in policies can make a huge difference in the economy. “Over ambition will not do it, we need small incremental changes, for instance 15 percent incremental changes can create up to 50,000 jobs” said Mr. Lopes.

Meanwhile, President Lungu called for a faster process of regional integration to facilitate economic transformation, wealth creation and employment. “Unless we integrate our small and fragmented economies, Africa will not more forward” He further called for stronger regional security to support regional integration “A volatile and weaker regional security is a threat to regional integration, a threat in one country is threat to the entire region” said president Lungu.

The two leaders extensively discussed specific and broadranging issues from intra Africa trade, youth unemployment, agro processing, urbanization, infrastructure to structural transformation.

Mr. Lopes commended Zambia and other African economies for continued positive economic performance, but called for quality growth characterized by inclusive growth, wealth creation and greater opportunities for young people.

Mr. Lopes said the current economic and political landscape excluded young people who constituted majority of Africa’s population. He called the state of Africa’s young people a paradox. “They are the most educated, most connected and modernized, but still unemployed” bemoaned Mr. Lopes.

Mr. Lopes is in Zambia for a two-day official state visit from 24-25 June at the invitation of the Zambian Government. He is expected to meet high-level Government officials including ministers in charge of Lands, Mines, Agriculture, Commerce and Finance respectively. Others include the private sector, UN head of agencies and the media.

Mr. Lopes is also scheduled to visit the Lusaka South Multi-Facility economic Zone, a 2000 hecta public sector commercial facility in which the government has provided infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and solid waste to enable the private sector set up industries and enterprises.


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