ECA Press Release 192/2012
Lusaka, 8 November 2012, (ECA) - Commenting on Zambia’s massive land resource which, he said, offers opportunities in agriculture, industrialization and diversification of the Zambian economy, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr. Carlos Lopes, has called for bold reforms to move the country from its over-dependence on copper which accounts for 75% of Zambia’s GDP.
| Dr Carlos Lopes, UNECA Executive Secretary with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Given Lubinda
Addressing a High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD), jointly organized by the Government of Zambia and Cooperating Partners in Lusaka, Mr. Lopes said “Agriculture should not just be seen as a poverty reduction strategy, but an opportunity for industrialization, wealth creation and diversifying commodities and markets. Wealth creation is a bigger ambition beyond poverty reduction.”
Overdependence on one commodity, said Lopes, is a threat to Zambia’s vision of becoming a prosperous middle income country by 2030.
Mr. Lopes noted that Zambia’s geographical location, surrounded by eight neighbouring countries, was a great opportunity to produce for the region and diversify Zambia’s market. He advised the Zambian government to address the energy deficiency and poor infrastructure, which, he said, posed serious threats to Zambia’s economic development. He also called for reforms in the education sector.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s Minister for Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, during the opening of the HLPD said that Zambia was looking to trade and international investment, not dependence on aid, to grow its economy and address overwhelming levels of poverty. He said that although Zambia’s economy was on track, poverty still persisted.
“Zambia’s economic growth prospects look reasonably promising; all the economic fundamentals are looking up, but regrettably poverty remains high at 60.5 per cent, whilst rural poverty is even higher at around 80 per cent," he said.
He noted that the HLPD mechanism is a platform for the Zambian government to engage constructively on topical issues that contribute towards inclusive growth and development.
The HLPD, on the theme: “Diversification for the Transformation of the Zambian Economy” was attended by top Government officials, cooperating partners, private sector and civil society.
While in Zambia Mr. Lopes held separate meetings with the Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Given Lubinda, pledging ECA’s continued technical support to the Government of Zambia and its institutions.
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