THE Zambian government has embarked on a programme to attract international businesses of all sizes and is promoting its trade and investment opportunities.
Addressing the Westminster Africa Business Group during a lunch meeting last week, High Commissioner Muyeba Shichapwa Chikonde called on UK officials, companies, MPs and academics who were in attendance to take advantage of the trade opportunities and conducive business environment to maximise business between Zambia and the UK.
The High Commissioner said even though trade has increased in the last five years between Zambia and the UK, averaging about £200 million per annum, this increase is minimal given the historical strong warm and cordial relations between the two countries.
‘There is a need to address the issues of standards, quality control, production capacity, transportation, product variety, innovation, food safety and traceability systems, all of which are important for our products to be able to gain access to the global market chain,’ he said.
Furthermore, the High Commissioner said in order to achieve the desired levels of economic growth, President Edgar Lungu has called for the total diversification of the economy from copper dependence and has identified key priority sectors of the economy namely: agriculture and agro-processing, energy, manufacturing and value addition, tourism and infrastructure.
‘I would like to enlist the support and collaboration of the Westminster Africa Business Group to encourage UK investment into Zambia, and importation of Zambian products into the UK. We need to leverage the Commonwealth advantage of common language, common law, common business practices, and close historical and cultural ties to strengthen trade, investment and people to people ties between our two countries,’ he said.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for members of the Group to ask questions about doing business in Zambia. Possibilities of the business community travelling to Zambia to explore trade and investment opportunities were also discussed.
The Westminster Africa Business Group was formed in 1947 and its membership includes both companies and individuals with interests in Africa, commercial, political or otherwise. It aims to bring together business and political activities in Africa and develop relations between the UK and the African continent.