Lusaka, Zambia, October 17, 2018 (ECA) – The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in collaboration with the Zambia Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the Economic Commission for Africa’s Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa organized a two-day workshop in Lusaka on the theme: “Transforming Zambia: Policies to Foster Industrialization and Development”.
In her official opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Mrs. Kayula Siame observed that the theme was most appropriate as, “it comes at a time when Zambia’s economic growth and the future of millions of Zambian communities are closely tied to accelerated industrialization and the exploitation of value chains provided a potent route to prosperity”.
The Lusaka workshop is the fourth following similar ones held in Pretoria, South Africa (March 2017), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (December 2017) and Maputo, Mozambique (May 2018). These workshops are part of a three-year project funded by the United Nation's Development Account aimed at supporting the development of Regional Value Chains (RVCs) in Southern Africa and at strengthening industrial policy capacity among stakeholders.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Mr.Oliver Maponga, Economic Affairs Officer, ECA Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA), emphasized that, “socio-economic development with structural transformation requires the active involvement of Small and Medium Enterprises”. He alluded to the opportunities ushered in by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and underscored the need for a regional approach to industrial policy development and strategy to benefit from economies of scale in the various value chains. Maponga noted that the direction provided by the SADC Industrialization Strategy and roadmap is key in the regional approach in value chain development.
The specific objective of this workshop was to strengthen industrial policy capacity and facilitate the dialogue among all stakeholders. Mr. Piergiuseppe Fortunato, UNCTAD’s Economic Affairs Officer provided an overview of the process of structural transformation and its linkages with development and sought to equip participants with knowledge of the key policies that could accelerate the gradual transformation of economies.
The presentation from Mr. Aaron Mutale, Chief Economist, Ministry of Commerce on Zambia’s past industrial policies, lessons learnt and the current supporting framework for industrialization in the country complimented UNCTAD’s overview. The Zambia framework is in line with regional efforts towards revitalizing the industrial sector to spur economic growth and transformation through promotion of the development of an integrated industrial base within SADC. The exploitation of regional synergies in value-added production, enhancement of export competitiveness and collaboration in the development of regional value chains across various commodities are key actions in the industrialization endeavour.
The final day of the workshop focused on presentations and discussions on practical experiences in agricultural and mineral commodity value chains by SRO-SA and other experts.
The next training under this project is planned for early 2019 in Mauritius.
Office for Southern Africa
Economic Commission for Africa