Thursday, March 18, 2021: Zambia and Zimbabwe have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement a joint industrialization project spearheaded by COMESA Secretariat. The Joint Industrialization Project will promote self-sustained, balanced and inclusive economic growth between the two countries. It will provide opportunities for the private sector to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area through enhanced competitiveness.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry for Zambia Christopher Yaluma and his Zimbabwe Counterpart Dr. Sekayi Nzenza signed the MoU virtually on 18th March 2021. COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe witnessed the signing.
In her statement, Ms Kapwepwe said that the success of the Project will enable the two Member States to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic transformation through industrialization.
“Once successful the pilot project will be upscaled to other Member States in the region,” she said.
According to the 2020 World Bank estimates, the average manufacturing value added as a percentage of GDP for the COMESA region stood at 10% while that of South East Asia stood at 18%. This indicates that the COMESA region and the African continent at large needs structural economic transformation through industrialization.
Minister Yaluma said the project has come at the right time as it fully supports the Zambian industrialization and job creation agenda for the country. It will enable the two countries to share ideas and resources for industrial development and further strengthen the working relationship between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the field of industrialization.
“Despite the growth potential in the region, poverty, unemployment, low investment levels, and depressed aggregate demand, among others, are prevalent in the COMESA region,” he said attributing this economic scenario to depressed industrialization.
He thanked the COMESA Secretariat for facilitating the milestones so far achieved towards the implementation the Joint Industrialization Project. These include; drafting the Roadmap and an indicative action plan, formulating the MoU, by the joint technical working group of the two member States and submitting the documents to respective permanent secretaries of the two Ministries who adopted them.
Hon Nzenza said that the project will result in high private sector participation, effective utilization of the Public Private Partnership framework, effective coordination, enhanced investment in science, technology and innovation including the availability of both human and financial resources necessary for its implementation.
He further stated that the project will harness the competitive advantage by the two countries resulting in improved product development for export into and out of the region thereby creating wealth for the citizens and the countries at large.
“Our two countries will ensure that the implementation of the project shall be done according to the project implementation plan through value chains from both countries so that no losses are made due to the long process of implementation,” said Hon Nzenza.