Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address you on this workshop themed “Leveraging the Right Finance for Emerging Company Growth”.
I wish to express the Government’s appreciation to AMSCO and its partners for joining efforts to make this gathering possible.
Zambia continues to witness impressive economic growth. A combination of prudent macroeconomic management, market liberalization policies, and an increase in copper prices helped drive investments in the copper industry and related infrastructure to achieve an average annual growth of about 6.4% during the last decade.
Though the economy is dependent on copper, the agriculture sector is the major employer at 70% of the population. However, the sector’s potential to contribute to the country’s development remains largely underexploited.
It is a fact that Government and its partners are investing on infrastructure, construction, finance, human capacity development services and markets in order to expand opportunities available to investors. Attracting and increasing public and private sector investments remains a priority.
Further potential exists for health, manufacturing, communications and transport sectors that offer opportunities to accelerate and broaden our country’s economic development.
Specific development goals for Zambia include promoting inclusive growth, fostering a competitive and outward-oriented economy, significantly reducing hunger and poverty, and reaching the middle income status.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to say a few words on how the Government of Zambia has been balancing the current opportunities and the business concerns:
- We have economic policies aimed at encouraging sustainable economic growth and creating a vibrant private sector and an enabling environment for domestic as well as international investors;
- Government’s support to bi-lateral & multilateral donors in achieving Private Sector Development (PSD) initiatives to bolster the private business sector in Zambia;
- We also have other efforts to improve the investment climate.
Given the foregoing, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is happy to work with institutions such as AMSCO whose core focus and vision is “to assist African enterprises in becoming globally competitive, profitable and sustainable”. Indeed Government encourages initiatives like this forum that seeks to engage various stakeholders on matters of fostering Zambia’s economic development.
Therefore, today’s workshop is seen as an important platform to support the private sector in the areas of access to finance, human capital, and technical assistance. It is fortunate that AMSCO and its stakeholders continue to effectively assist enterprises in Zambia.
We are, however, very much aware of the fact that poverty levels are still high. It is important therefore that growth is sustained, accelerated and broadened, especially, in the SME sector which is the largest employer in Zambia.
This can only happen if private investment increases, so that more jobs are created. In this regard, as Government, we shall continue to place emphasis on improving and strengthening our business and economic environment to make it easier for private investment to flourish, with a deliberate emphasis on the SME sector. I am glad to again note that AMSCO offers various capacity building training and support primarily targeting SMEs.
Leveraging the Right Finance for Emerging Company Growth is definitely a worthy topic to be deliberated on for the benefit of our people.
With those few words shared, it remains for me to wish you fruitful deliberations as I now officially launch this workshop.
Thank you for your audience.