Action Aid International tax justice campaign Manager, Saviour Mwamba says supporting local trade for economic growth is one sure way of improving the lives of local people and boosting the economy.

Speaking at the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD)-organised regional consultative workshop, Mwamba said much of the investments that had been brought to Africa did not benefit the locals because it did not provide them with sustainable income generating activities.

“The notion of foreign direct investments which most of the Governments’ say will increase trade by creating jobs, I think jobs are important in terms of reducing poverty, but then people don’t eat investments, people don’t eat trade. What they actually need is income and the only way you can reduce poverty is by putting income in people’s pockets. The most effective way of doing that is to create real jobs and employment; not just formal employment but also to stimulate economic activities both at local and international levels as well as economic activities that will increase things for people to do to make money,” Mwamba said.

Meanwhile, Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS) Center Head in Lusaka Chenai Mukumba said Government needed to prioritise the informal sector in order to identify who had been importing goods.

Mukumba explained that the informal sector needed to be empowered locally because it accounted for 90 per cent of all exports.

“Supermarkets only import 10 per cent of fruits and vegetables and then the other 90 per cent is done by the informal market, which is the local market. Government therefore needs to prioritise the informal market and ensure that it drives the development of the sectors’ agenda. We Zambians have got everything it takes to become major producers of fruits and vegetables because our land is fertile and rich,” said Mukumba.

The civil society organisations collectively determined that they would step up and ensure that fought to promote local trade for the benefit of the local people.