United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote says in order for local businesses to grow, there is need for stable and predictable economic policies.

And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma says investors from other countries are being attracted to invest in Zambia because the country remains politically stable and upholds democracy.

Speaking during a cocktail reception in honour of a visiting American business delegation at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Tuesday, Ambassador Foote explained that in order for businesses to grow and thrive in Zambia, there was need for predictable economic policies.

The US Envoy noted that while the country remained stable, there is still much work to be done to attract large, diverse sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

“I want to highlight the important role that government plays in facilitating business and economic activity. Businesses need an enabling environment of stable and predictable economic policies that allows them to plan for short and long-term business cycles and cost-out returns on investment. Businesses need fair and transparent procurement practices and policies. I have spoken with many of the government ministers here tonight about this issue. While Zambia has been known as a welcoming and stable country, much work remains to attract large and diverse sources of foreign investment,” said Ambassador Foote.

And speaking at the same event, Yaluma said investors had continued to invest in Zambia because they were attracted to its stable political environment.

He noted that the Zambian economy had continued growing with a stable Growth Domestic Product (GDP) of between 4 per cent to 5 per cent in the recent past.

“Let me take this opportunity to assure investors that have come to explore investment and partnership opportunities in various sectors of the economy, that Zambia is one of the better places for investment due to its political stability; peace and democracy; adherence to the rule of law; investment guarantees and security; attractive investment incentives; abundant natural resources presenting excellent investment and trade opportunities and duty-free access to regional, wider African, European Union and US markets. To support investment in the manufacturing sector, my Ministry, through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), offers a number of incentives. Investors who invest not less than US $500,000 in the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ), industrial parks or any priority sector, there is a zero per cent tax rate on dividends for five years, zero per cent tax rate on profits for five years and zero per cent import duty rate on capital equipment and machinery for five years,” Yaluma said.

“In the recent past, Zambia has experienced a steady growth in GDP ranging from 4 per cent to 5 per cent. This economic growth has placed our country on a positive spotlight for investors and entrepreneurs from across the globe as one of the preferred investment destinations. In addition, Zambia has continued to perform well in terms of the Ease of Doing Business. According to the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report, Zambia is ranked 87th out of 190 economies of the world.”

He said that Zambia was among the top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that were profiled as being easy to do business in.

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia recognises the pivotal role the private sector plays in advancing the achievement of the economic sustainable development agenda. You may wish to note that, currently, government is implementing private sector development reforms, which are aimed at creating a conducive business environment, thereby, increasing trade and investments. This is in line with the 7th National Development Plan whose major objective is to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained growth,” said Yaluma.

“I am very happy to note that this is working very well for Zambia as evidenced by a number of investments being undertaken topping Zambia as one of the best investment destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and ranking among the top 10 reformers in Africa on the Ease to Doing Business Index. This milestone has been achieved through business reforms alongside meaningful and attractive investment opportunities and incentives for both local and foreign investors. These reforms include: online business registration, streaming and automation of key business service delivery points like the online tax system, regulatory services centres and decentralization of key functions from the central government to the local authorities.”