The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says Zambians should be worried that the country still has no meaningful social and economic transformation to talk about despite having been a mining hub in the last 100 years.
In statement to commemorate Africa Freedom Day, which fell last Friday, CTPD executive director Isaac Mwaipopo noted that Zambians had continued facing a number economic challenges that included; unemployment, lack of shelter and sanitation, among other challenges.
“The Centre for Trade Policy and Development joins the rest of the continent in commemorating the Africa Freedom Day; this is a significant day, not only for the continent of Africa, but even more for our own country, Zambia. It is a good time to reflect on the progress made towards enhancing citizens’ rights to employment, shelter, water, sanitation and many others. To what extent have we worked around ensuring that the natural resources we have benefit all citizens. It’s also a time when we can start afresh and work towards realising the society our forefathers aspired for,” Mwaipopo stated.
“We remain alive to the many persisting economic challenges our country is facing, key among these includes; the ballooning public debt, high poverty levels and low economic growth. It is also sad to note that Zambia has not made much progress towards diversifying its economy, we have continued to rely on the export copper with no value adding. We should be worried as a country that even after being a mining hub for more 100 years, there is still no meaningful social and economic transformation to talk about.”
He stated that it was regrettable to note that Africa’s share of the total foreign trade had remained very compared to other regions, despite the various efforts that the continent was making aimed at integrating the continent over the past 40 years.
“On the continental front, CTPD has observed various efforts aimed at integrating the African continent over the past 40 years; it’s regrettable to note that Africa’s share of total foreign trade has remained very low when compared to other regions. Intra-Africa trade is estimated at just 11 per cen; African countries have continued to trade among each other under high barriers and many African countries have continued to trade more with their colonial masters than fellow African countries, this has led to serious neglect on the need to develop the requisite infrastructure that would help unlock Africa’s trading potential,” he explained.
Mwaipopo emphasised the need to address disparities in the economic performance of African states on the negotiations around the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement as one golden opportunity to mark a new beginning for the continent.
“There is need to address the disparities in the economic performance of African states and we see the ongoing negotiations around the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement as one golden opportunity to mark a new beginning for the continent. We urge all citizens, especially private sector players, to make their submissions through the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry when they commence national consultations on that Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement so as to shape Zambia’s policy direction on trade,” stated Mwaipopo