The Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (Lusaka South MFEZ) Managing Director Mukela Lubasi says government has so far spent over US$ 50 million in developing the zone.

She said the money had been spent on a power station, roads, water and sewerage systems.

Lubasi said once fully developed, the zone; which sits on 2,100 hectares of land in Kafue District, will harbour more than 300 companies producing locally-made goods.

So far over 170 companies have expressed interest to invest in the area and of that number 40 have formally applied.

“We are talking about over 300 companies that will be producing things that are made in Zambia. In terms of job capabilities, we are talking about 100,000 direct permanent jobs from the manufacturers. We haven’t added the service industries… So you are looking at maybe 200,000 or way more than 150,000 jobs,” Lubasi said

“So at least within this year, we will have four companies producing. Then we have these others that are coming to start – British American Tobacco, Roland Tobacco, … we have two milling companies and about three companies that want to produce building materials.”

Last week, President Edgar Lungu was in the area to commission the $33 million Zambia Breweries Malting Plant.

President Lungu used the occasion to defend his government’s inconsistent policy record.

“As government, it is gratifying to note that many companies are responding to some policies of industrialization, job creation, and poverty reduction. We are alive to the fact that continuous policy improvements are necessary for us to strengthen the national sector in the light of greater competitiveness and integration into the world economy,” said President Lungu.

Other companies that are yet to open their manufacturing plants this year are NRB Pharmaceutical Zambia Ltd, Mylan Laboratories and Zambian Fertilizers Ltd.

The Lusaka South MFEZ is an initiative which was started by late President Levy Mwanawasa and it has been supported by all the presidents who have come after him and has continued to this day.

The 30-year development plan is an attempt by government to diversify the economy away from copper.