Lusaka South MFEZ attracts US$1.3 billion investments

The Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (LS MFEZ) has attracted US$1.3 billion of investments in the last two years.

ZANIS reports that LS MFEZ Managing Director, Kennedy Mwila said the investments grew exponentially from US$340 million to US$1.3 billion in the last two years despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies.

Mr. Mwila however pointed out that the economic zone lost US$40 million of investments due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Zambian economy.

He said the increased investments into the economic zone has seen a 300 percent increase in the number of investors in the last two years from 22 to 88.

“Despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which ravaged global economies from November 2019 to date, the LS MFEZ Limited grew its investment collection from only USD340 million to USD1.3 billion in 24 months. This is despite having lost about USD40 million worth of investments due to the impact of the pandemic,” he said.

Mr. Mwila said out of the 88 investors, 20 have since started operations while another 20 are still constructing their facilities and the remaining 48 are finalizing their various investment authorisations.

He said over 32,000 jobs have been created at the economic zone with 10,000 employees working on a daily basis.

Mr. Mwila said the 20 operating companies are contributing US$1 billion to the country’s National Gross Domestic Product(GDP)

He stated  that 60 percent of the investors at the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He disclosed that the Muilty Facility Economic Zone has been awarded the 2022 SME-AFRICA Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by the FDi Intelligence Magazine, out of 67 participating SEZ across the globe.

Mr Mwila was speaking during the 10th anniversary celebration of the LS MFEZ in Lusaka.

He said the LS MFEZ will soon commence the establishment of export zones from within the economic zone which currently is only utilizing 30 percent of the land.

Mr. Mwila appealed to government to look into the issue of rates as it is proving to be an impediment to the economic zone.

He further implored government to help improve the road infrastructure at the facility as most investors are constructing where there are no roads.

Mr. Mwila said of the 170 kilometres of tarred road required at the LS MFEZ, only 40 kilometres have been done.

He said efforts are underway to improve electricity supply at the economic zone and that Lusanje Power has been contracted to produce and distribute power to investors.

And speaking at the same event, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Chipoka Mulenga said government will continue to promote multi facility economic zones as a way to promote the country’s industrialization agenda.

Mr. Mulenga said government recognises that manufacturing is critical in stimulating economic growth and will support the creation of economic zones to expand the country’s industrial and manufacturing base.

He commended the economic zone for being a cornerstone in the country’s industrialization and value addition agenda.

Mr. Mulenga said government’s national industrial policy seeks to facilitate and enhance private sector led industrialisation anchored on deepened citizen involvement.

He said the new administration’s agenda of economic transformation and job creation in line with the country’s eighth National Development Plan(8NDP) is anchored on industrialisation with a focus on value addition in the agriculture, mining, tourism as well as manufacturing sectors.

The minister noted that if the country can have a minimum of five performing economic zones, they can add about US$5 billion to the country’s GDP.

Mr Mulenga said government is committed to improving infrastructure in the LS MFEZ and has since given the zone K30 million for among others roads, sewer, water and drainage constructions, while an additional K75 million is planned for 2023.

“This is a demonstration of our government’s commitment towards ensuring that this national project succeeds. The Government has committed efforts towards the special economic zones which will impact positively for our country and our people. The prototype of the Lusaka South MFEZ is proving to be a significant contributor to job creation, investment, manufacturing, and exports, hosting huge conglomerates like Zambian Breweries, Trade Kings Group, Zambian Fertiliser, Keda Ceramics Limited, to mention a few,” he said.

Mr. Mulenga urged other private economic zones to work with government to change the industrialiasation and manufacturing base of the country.

The minister commended the various companies at the economic zone for exporting quality goods to neighbouring countries as it demonstrates that the country’s manufacturing base is on course towards realizing its potential.