The latest economic report on Africa has revealed that Zambia’s copper mining could continue to operate at current rates for the next 60 years even without new discoveries.
The report states that there is currently a reserve base of 35 million metric tons of copper in Zambia’s soils.
It shows that Zambia remains Africa’s largest copper producer and exported US$6.8 billion worth of copper in 2011.
The report says copper provides 10 percent of the country’s employment in the formal sector.
It further indicates that the copper industry in Zambia also employs thousands of people in the informal sector adding that female workers are mostly represented in the tertiary educated and lower- management sections of the labour structure of copper producing firms.
And the report has revealed that manufactured imports, particularly from some emerging countries such as China and India are affecting local manufacturing in Africa.
The report says Asian giants both help and hinder the manufacturing industry on the continent.
According to the report, domestic producers suffer competition from these countries and often end up leaving the market.
It shows however that in other continents such as Europe, this competition has prompted domestic firms to compete as in the European shoe sector while in others, it has offered new opportunities.
The report also explains that as emerging economies grow, they leave room for other developing countries to produce some of their low technology goods, which create new opportunities.
The latest economic report for Africa therefore recommends that for firms to exploit these new opportunities, governments need to design and effectively implement industrial policies that will among other things help to improve access to credit and address the problem of poor infrastructure and inadequate human capital, which currently constrain market foreign direct investments into Africa.