The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe says continued dependency on the mining industry as a major driver of the economy has left other sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and ICTs largely underdeveloped.
Mwanakatwe said this at a press conference this morning where she announced a two-day national economic and business forum to be held on the 2nd and 3rd May at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
She said the conference will bring together 570 guests.
“Our continued dependency on the mining industry as a major driver of the economy has left other sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and ICTs largely underdeveloped. This has led to our economy’s growth trajectory tied almost exclusively to the world commodity prices which in turn makes our macroeconomic environment highly vulnerable to external shocks,” Mwanakatwe said.
“It is for this reason that initiatives for a cross section of stakeholders to dialogue are encouraged so that together, we can come up with solutions that will put industrialization agenda on the right footing.”
Mwanakatwe said government’s role was to facilitate business growth by creating the right environment for investment and opening market access possibilities.
“We can only do that effectively if we strengthen the relationship between the private sector, government and key stakeholders such as academia and cooperating partners,” she said.
The Minister said the deliberations at the conference will be recorded and compiled into a report that will culminate into a private sector policy document that will be handed over to government.
Blackdot, advertising firm Chief Executive Officer David Kombe said “the conference provides an opportunity for Zambians to find solutions to Zambian problems”.
“We believe that as Zambians, we have enough experience, enough knowledge and we have enough resources to be able to come up with solutions for Zambian problems,” said Kombe.
And ZACCI Board Member Laurian Haangala said the role of the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to ensure that both government and the private sector work together. He said the upcoming conference provides an opportunity for all the key economic players to look at the two focus issues of diversification and industrilisation.
The conference which is under the theme – achieving inclusive growth and development through diversification and industrialization is sponsored by various organisations such as AVIC Construction, ZESCO, Development Bank of Zambia, African Grey Insurance and Indo-Zambia Bank. It is being organised by ZACCI and Blackdot.