Africa News Bulletin

Zambia Asks for more time before Committing to Africa Free Trade Area

Commerce, Trade, and Industry Minister Chipoka Mulenga has disclosed that Zambia has requested more time to engage the private sector before committing to the Africa continental free trade area agreement.

Speaking during a panel discussion organized by the American chamber of commerce in Zambia in partnership with UNICAF in Lusaka, Mr. Mulenga said that the government has asked for more time from the countries involved in the agreement so that it can fully engage the private sector as committing to the agreement now will be of less benefit to Zambia.

Mr. Mulenga explained that the new dawn government has observed that the agreement at the moment best favors countries that have been involved in value addition for years and are already doing well in that area.

Mr. Mulenga said that it will not be wise for Zambia to be subjected to the same conditions as other countries that have been involved in value addition for many years.

The Commerce, Trade, and Industry Minister has however clarified that the new dawn government does not oppose the Africa continental free trade area agreement, but for now it wants to thoroughly engage the local private sector and see how best the agreement will benefit from it, hence requiring more time before it commits.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mulenga has announced that the new dawn government will this year apportion 10,000 hectares of land in each of the 150 districts across the country to investors to use for additional value purposes.

He said following Zambia’s participation at the Dubai expo, there has been overwhelming interest from investors across the country who are willing to use the land for farming and production industries that will result in the value addition of products.

He has however stated that this will be done through promoting joint ventures with foreign investors who should ensure skills transfer to the locals.

And speaking earlier, American Chamber of commerce in Zambia president Lowani Chibesakunda says the chamber has continued to be a valuable organization for its members by providing platforms to exchange ideas with stakeholders.

Original story on Lusaka Times

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