South African companies have been urged to invest in Zambia's manufacturing sector.
Chief Economist of Industry Development Programmes at the Zambia Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Pamela Chitulang'oma on Tuesday called on both South African as well as Zambian businesspeople to invest in the manufacturing sector.
Chitulang'oma's comments come as a delegation of 28 businesspeople led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) are currently on a weeklong Outward Trade and Investment Mission to the capital Lusaka and Kitwe.
Investing in this sector, she said, will help to address the trade imbalance that is in favour of South Africa. This as total exports to Zambia between the period of January-May 2019 amounted to R12.4 billion and total imports from Zambia amounted to R1.1 billion. Total trade amounted to R13.5 billion.
With the continued exchange of trade and investment opportunities, Chitulang'oma said it was expected for trade and investments between the two countries to increase.
"Government is committed to encouraging and supporting investments through provision of an enabling business environment conducive for investments. We urge South African businesspeople to explore these investment opportunities even in the Copper belt Province particularly in value addition in the minerals," said Chitulang'oma.
She added that Zambia was endowed with abundant natural resources ranging from agricultural products to minerals but there was little value addition to these resources.
The Zambian government has embarked on implementing measures aimed at diversifying the economy and is encouraging local value addition to these resources.
Also speaking at the trade and investment seminar hosted by the dti as part of the week-long trade mission, South African Acting High Commissioner to Zambia, Marx Cameron, said South Africa and Zambia have tried and tested relations that boasts economic opportunities for the future of both countries.
"South Africa recognises the importance of Zambia and ripe opportunities for South African investments. We believe cooperation between Zambia and South Africa is central to economic development in the region and as long as we collectively identify our strengths, weaknesses and challenges, finding possible solutions should be guaranteed," said Cameron.
He said the power to change and shape Africa remained within the hands of Africans.
"We can no longer talk about trade and investment in the context of South Africa without considering the integral nature of our relationship with other countries in Africa. The African continent has opened up new markets for the business community to expand and grow within the continent and businesspeople must take advantage of that," said the acting High Commissioner.
High hopes for collaboration
Meanwhile, South African companies have expressed high hopes for the trade mission that got underway on Monday in the capital Lusaka.
Executive Director of Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa Keitumetse Moumakoe, said the mission presents them with an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with the Zambian Manufacturers Association (ZAM) on how they can align the growing Zambian steel sector with that of South Africa for mutual benefit.
"We expect that steel fabrication companies we have appointments with in Zambia will embrace the use of more steel tubes in their projects thereby increasing the export of steel tubes and pipes that are not manufactured domestically in Zambia," said Moumakoe.
Chief Executive Officer of Tamuda Engineering, Terry Kumira, says the mission provides insight of the economic dynamics and opportunities.
"We are here to look for partnerships and understand the state of the rolling stock in the Zambian Rail sector," said Kumira.
Over 150 businesspeople attended the seminar and the mission will proceed with sector specific site visits in Lusaka before proceeding with the second-leg in Kitwe.
The mission will conclude on Friday.