Former President Rupiah Banda says Sub-Sharan economies should move away from high reliance on subsistence agricultural and natural resource extraction to activities which foster local value addition in a bid to achieve economic independence.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has appealed to Pan-African Financial Institutions to move in tandem with the continent’s agenda of Regional intergration.

At the rebranding of the ‘Preferential Trade Area’ PTA Bank to Trade and Development Bank (TDB) in Lusaka, Wednesday evening, Banda stressed the need for Sub-Saharan countries to quickly make strides toward economic independence and regional development.

“As a region, we are making strides in regional development and it is imperative to take note and celebrate each milestone as we forge on. We have made a solid performance and laid a good foundation. However, our economies continue to be particularly vulnerable to fluctuations to commodity prices and other external shocks. When economies move from high reliance on subsistence agricultural and natural resource extraction, to activities which foster local value addition and related services, dynamic economic forces are unleashed, a job reach, inclusive growth will get us closer to the Africa we want,” Banda said.

He said Afican population is expected to double soon and that the continent should prepare for the development.

“Three decades ago, when the PTA Bank now TDB was founded, the population was 550 million. We are now 1.2 billion strong and we are estimated to be 2.8 billion by 2060. This means that the number of people who will need food, infrastructure and water-every other things that enhance the quality of life will grow and therein lies the challenge which if harnessed correctly will mean big grow for the enterprises in the public and private sectors in the coming future. Africa is the mainstream of oil production and also emerging as a main player in natural gas. That said, we have a huge untapped renewable energy less than 10 per cent of the regions hydro power potential has been tapped so far and wind and solar energy potential are aboundunt. With our population ever growing and supply and access to electricity in the region still low, there is an earnestness to invest in the sector,” said Banda.

Meanwhile, Mwanakatwe appealed to Pan-African Financial Institutions to move in tandem with the continent’s agenda of regional intergration.

“I take this opportunity to appeal that Pan-African finanancial institutions, TDB included, should move intandem with the agenda of the continent.In doing so, it is important for them to conduct independence assessments in arriving at objective views on the conditions of client countries or institutions. Zambia is honoured to be considered worthy partners in this concerted effort to propel Africa’s economic agenda forward. Therefore, we should we should strive towards regional integration, free trade between our borders and inclusive property for all citizens in Africa,” she said.

She commended the bank for the financial support rendered to Zambia.

“I take this opportunity to acknowledge the unwavering support of the TDB to Zambia in our agenda towards sustainable socio-economic development. The bank has been a faithful and commendable financial partner to our country, facilitating a total of $700 million providing jobs to the country’s citizens and boosting economic growth and development of the nation,” said Mwanakatwe.