Friday, January 16, 2009

(DAILY MAIL) RB unveils economic zone

RB unveils economic zone

PRESIDENT Banda yesterday unveiled the Lusaka sub-zone of the Chambishi Multi facility Economic Zone which will be used as an area for raw material value addition.

The sub-zone is an extension of the Chambishi Multi-facility Economic Zone which was unveiled by President Mwanawasa in 2007 with the support of the Chinese government.

President Banda said the launch had come at a time when the global financial meltdown had exerted massive pressure on most economies in both developed and developing countries.

“This launch we are witnessing today will go a long way to show that Zambia is still an attractive investment destination and give confidence to existing firms not to start scaling down their operations,” he said.

Mr Banda said Zambians would benefit greatly from the investment earmarked for the sub-zone through employment creation and skills transfer, among others.

“My government will continue diversifying the economy to sustain the country’s economic growth and minimise the negative impact arising from the global economic down-turn,” he said.

Mr Banda said the Lusaka sub-zone would specialise in value addition and light manufacturing activities. He said unveiling of the zone would change the face of Lusaka East and the Zambian economy in that raw materials would now have chance to enjoy value addition.

“The investments will have linkages to the rest of the economy as the investors in the zone will require other products and services such as inputs, raw materials, housing, most of which will be sourced locally. This will improve the quality of life for the people in Lusaka and the surrounding areas and the economy of Zambia as a whole,” Mr Banda said.

He thanked the government and people of China for choosing Zambia as the destination for the establishment of multi-facility economic zones. He said it was Government’s hope that more Chinese investors would partner with Zambian businesses in establishing companies at the economic zone.

“This is important for our citizens’ empowerment programme and to enable Chinese companies tap into local expertise, knowledge and culture. I wish to suggest that both Chinese and Zambian investors be given equal business opportunities at the economic zone,” Mr Banda said.

He urged Chinese and other foreign investors to support local suppliers of goods and services to promote the growth of local industries.

“For example, the Chambishi copper smelter which is still under construction, is expected to employ 1,000 more people. The smelter will also increase copper processing capacity by 150,000 tonnes annually,” Mr Banda said.

He said infrastructure development of Chambishi Copper Smelter was progressing well and that already, a total investment had reached US$100 million.

He said by the year 2011, CMFEZ would accommodate 50 to 60 zone enterprises with an output volume exceeding US$1.5 billion of which more than US$600 million would be exported while employing more than 6,000 locals.

And Chinese minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, said the launch of the sub-zone would elevate relations between China and Zambia.

He hoped that the Zambia China Cooperation Zone (ZCCZ) would follow requirements set by President Banda’s administration and turn the zone into the best in the world.

Mr Chen urged government to continue providing support and preferential policies.

And China Non-ferrous Metal Mining Group Corporation Limited (CNMM) president, Luo Tao, said the company would not lay off any workers but would further increase investments to create more jobs. Meanwhile, President Banda said Zambia and China
are holding talks to resuscitate Tazara.

“We want to have more goods being transported to Asia and other destinations. We hope the talks will be concluded soon,” he said.

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