Zambia Daily Mail, 17th April 2003
By NKWETO MFULA
The common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says Zambia needs to strengthen her trade policy platform in the grouping for it to attract major Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
COMESA regional Investment Agency Unit official, Watipaso Mkandawire, said in Lusaka yesterday at the national consultation on FDI policy and practice in Zambia organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society, Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC).
Mr Mkandawire observed that the country needed an export lead policy to strengthen trade process and institutions that support commerce in the nation.
“In promoting trade policy Zambia should look at strengthening its platform for the regional market,” he said.
He cited Swarp Spinning Mills of Ndola as one of computers that was forced to export due to the small market of yarn in the country.
He pointed out that Zambia was still a high recipient of FDI in the region despite the decline of foreign investment for the past years.
And speaking at the same function, CUTS-ARC research associate, Eric Kalimukwa said government does not have a clearly defined investment policy.
He said the sad development makes it impossible to see economic objectives of what qualities as an investment policy.
He said what seems to exit as a policy was a set up of fiscal measure for new FDI investment.
He said an investment policy would have a clear focus on technology development and transfer of human resources training and job-creation.
“Politicians often make statements on the need for foreign investors to improve job creation, but nothing has been done to show how this can be achieved,” he said.
But Zambia Investment Centre projects manager Richard Chavula said
Government had enacted a law and established department and statutory bodies of sector regulators all aimed at improving the FDI regime in Zambia.
He said the setting up of government agencies was meant to enhance the investment climate and make it more conducive and responsive to the attraction of FDI as well as to ensure that the national social, economic and political interest were safeguarded.