Saturday, May 04, 2013

(TIMES ZM) Broaden industrial sector – economist
Posted May 2, 2013 by andrew Miti in Business

COMMENT - The International Growth Center is Muhammed Yunus' (Banker To The Poor) project. - MrK

BROADENING and deepening of industrial activities is key to Zambia’s growth over the next decade, a London-based researcher has said.

Professor John Sutton who is the co-author of the book titled An Enterprise Map of Zambia and professor of economics at the London School of Economics said this when he presented a paper during the launch of the book on Tuesday night.

The book was written by Prof Sutton and Gillian Langmean with sponsorship from International Growth Centre (IGC).

Prof Sutton said this was a turning point for Zambia’s economy, and getting the right policies, rules and ensuring they were implemented and enforced is what was crucial to the country’s future.

“What is key to Zambia’s growth in the next decade is broadening and deepening of the industrial sector. Appropriate FDIs will be key to job creation and the advance of Zambia’s industrial capabilities,” Prof Sutton said.

He said countries that had made advancement into middle ground manufacturing had faced major challenges in regard to quality standards.

The most powerful driver of this advance, Prof Sutton said was appropriate FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), which involves companies operating in new industrial activities, bringing new capabilities, and creating new jobs.

He explained that the challenges faced in terms of quality were well illustrated by Kafue Steel’s acquisition of international certification.

“In Zambia, relatively few leading sector, but the contribution of the trading sector in this regard is still impressive,” he said.

Launching the book, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Emmanuel Chenda said, as Zambia aspires to become a strong and dynamic middle-income industrial nation, there should be an industrial database that provides information on the available trade and investment opportunities.

In a speech read for him by his Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa, Mr Chenda said the launch of the book had come at an opportune time as it provided the private sector, potential investors and other economic players information on leading industrial enterprise and their capabilities in Zambia.

“Zambia’s manufacturing sector accounts for about 11 per cent of the country’s Growth Domestic product (GDP) and has been growing at an average annual growth rate of three per cent in the last five years.

“If this has to increase, this will require broadening and strengthening industrial activities,” Mr Chenda said.

Mr Chenda said FDIs remained essential to the development agenda including the benefits that come with it which include among other issues wealth and job creation.

“Our strategic focus as a country is to strengthen and widen the country’s manufacturing base with emphasis on backward and forward linkages in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors given the country’ wide resource base,” he said.


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