Central Province permanent Secretary Chanda Kabwe says the provincial investment expo which starts today at Mulungushi University is expected to capture about 100 companies to invest in different sectors.

And Kabwe says 200 local and international companies, and 701 delegates have so far registered to attend the expo.

In an interview, Kabwe also said the expo is also targeted at linking small scale miners, farmers and the emerging entrepreneurs with bigger economic players.

“This is not a show, it’s an investment meeting or business meeting where we will be discussing ideas how to grow our businesses and to showcase the potential which we have in Central Province. The expectations are that after our meetings and our side tours and discussions, we should see people investing in the province in the sectors that we have highlighted, the agriculture sector, agro-processing, manufacturing, mining, tourism, energy, infrastructure development, forestry. So you will see investors putting up factories and industries around the province. That is what people expect,” Kabwe said.

He explained that sideline meetings with traditional leaders will be held during the expo to engage them and make them understand the importance of opening doors for investment in their chiefdoms.

“We are also going to have a side meeting for our traditional leaders. So we have the 40 chiefs of central province who are coming to be part of the expo and will be able to speak to chiefs on the role of traditional leadership in uniting the province and the nation. So we want to see how peace can promote and create an investment environment. We know that without peace, it is difficult to come and invest. So we are looking at our traditional leaders to unite us because traditional leaders have subjects who belong to different political parties, tribes or churches. And the chiefs will be presented by the royal highnesses and the advisors so that we speak to them on peace and national unity. Secondly, we will be talking to them to ensure that their chiefdoms have a role to national development and investment so that both international and local investors are able to find investment opportunities in these chiefdoms, and because this is where the role materials are found,” he said.

He further said that a symposium for youths would also be held to change their mindset.

“Apart from that, we will be able to train the young people. We have a youth symposium and we will be speaking to young people on the mindset change, how young people can contribute to the growth of the economy not just in Central Province because we do understand as people of Central Province that the future of Zambia belongs to the young people. So these young people need to be tailored in their mind not to just think about the white-collar job but that there is no industry or there is no government world-over which can provide employment for every citizen, no. Definitely there should be people in the informal sector and for those people in the informal sector, we need to give them the skills which they need and the tools that will make them to grow their business and contribute to the national development,” Kabwe said.

“And then we are going to link the small scale miners, farmers and the emerging entrepreneurs. We are going to merge them and link them to bigger players in the economy so that they form partnership. When they form partnerships, it’s easier to grow and link one another from one level to another. After that we expect to expose the districts because we will have site tours for people go to see the districts in Central Province such as Itezhi-tezhi, Mumbwa, Chisamba, Mkushi, Luano and Ngabwe to see other potential we can identify from those.”

And Kabwe said 200 companies had so far shown interest to participate in the expo.

“We had 200 companies by Thursday who had shown interest to come and participate [and those are] both international and local companies and we had 701 already registered delegates. So we expect those numbers to come. Of those companies that have shown interest, maybe 50 or 100 companies will invest in Central Province,” said Kabwe