A VISITING Finnish delegation says the collaboration of various stakeholders with Government is vital for national growth.
The Finnish Development Policy Committee (DPC), which left the country after a six-day visit, said it was cardinal for strong business associations, trade unions and civil society organisations to act as Government's counterparts to foster development.
This was according to a statement released in Lusaka yesterday by the Finnish Embassy.
The delegation also noted that diversification of the country's economy and enhancing the links of the mining industry with the local economy was key. "Similarly, it is important that the productivity and value chains of the agricultural sector be developed, with a special focus on smallholders," read the statement from the Embassy. It was also noted that there was a lot of growth potential for SMEs linked to the supply chains of the mining sector and that a common theme discussed in all the meetings questioned why high economic growth in Zambia had not resulted into poverty reduction.
The visit was aimed at understanding the relationship between trade and development and the role of the private sector.
The delegation visited the Copperbelt to acquaint itself with the mining sector and held meetings in Lusaka with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, the private sector, civil society organisations, research community and Zambia's other cooperating partners. The delegation, which was in the country from October 27 to November 1, 2013, included DPC director, Gunvor Kronman, his Secretary General, Miia Toikka and executive director, Timo Lappalainen as well as development director, Timo Palander.
The committee highlighted the importance of nurturing and strengthening the dialogue between the Government and different sectors of society to achieve inclusive economic development. The delegation was inspired by the work of the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), women and youth business associations supported through the United Nations (UN) Green Jobs project.
"It is through these kinds of self-generated initiatives, born from the visions, entrepreneurship and hard work of Zambians themselves, that the prosperity of the nation and the well-being of its people will be achieved," it stated.