Zambia urges African countries to harness production potential

President Hakainde Hichilema has urged African countries to harness the production potential and addition value to raw materials that are produced in the continent in order to grow their economies.

President Hichilema has observed that despite the continent being endowed with various resources, Africa’s production capacity has continued to be low as most of the raw materials are exported in their unfinished form.

He said this means African is also exporting jobs and income to countries which process raw materials in finished products.

He explained that the trend has made countries in Africa to pay more for most of the goods as they have to pay freight charges for both exporting the raw materials and importing the finished products.

“We need to focus on growing our economies on the continent by cutting on the costs associated with exporting of raw materials, we are exporting jobs, we are exporting income because when exporting, we are paying the freight for shipping and we also have to pay the freight for importing the finished product which was produced using our raw materials,” he explained.

The Head of State said this at State House today when a delegation from the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) led by its President Samaila Zubairu called him.

President Hichilema noted that all these challenges can be addressed if African countries embrace value addition for all the locally produced products.

He said this is why his government is focusing on promoting an active private sector led economy and encouraging more Private-Public Partnership in order to build capacity among the local people for them to contribute towards economic growth.

“Our country has already gone through privatisation, for me private sector participation is key, PPP very important also, we want the involvement of the locals in this economy through capacity building, we want to achieve growth, we want to create jobs, we don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” he stated.

Mr Hichilema further noted that Zambia is ready to take lessons on how AFC has implemented its programmes in other countries such as Gabon and Senegal among others.

And Africa Finance Corporation President, Samaila Zubairu, has admired President Hichilema’s stance at rebuilding the country’s economy and his drive towards the promotion of value addition.

Mr Zubairu said it is high time African countries started finding lasting solutions to challenges such as the current energy and food crisis and the continued effect of climate change which they are faced with.

He explained that Zambia is a member of the AFC, an entity which was established by eminent personalities of the African Union with a focus towards supporting infrastructure development and accelerate development in the region.

He stated that to this effect, his organisation is read to support Zambia in its quest to reconstruct its economy by promoting value addition especially to the abundant raw materials such as copper.

Mr Zubairu cited the manufacturing of electric car batteries as one project that Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need to harness and increase their value addition capacity.

“We are currently faced with energy problems, climate change and food crisis, its time for Africa to start finding solutions to it’s problems, we need to focus more on accelerating the promotion of value addition and return the value in our economies,” he stated.

He explained that nine million dollars worth of copper is consumed within Africa hence the need to build capacity in the processing sector and ensure that the continent produces finished products such as cables and wires among others.

Mr Zubairu added that the corporation is read to support Zambia in all aspects of development, including its debt restructuring programme which requires a sustainable worth of revenue and investment for it to be achieved.

He added that currently, AFC is supporting first ever independent gas production factory in Senegal which has added value to the raw materials within that country and has contributed immensely to its economy.

In Gabon, Mr Zubairu said AFC is supporting a successful forestry industry through the production of timber and furniture which has consequently increased the export market.