‘Bring investment on own terms’
Lusaka – Zambia’s Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has implored African leaders not to shy away from owning and leading the process of foreign investment, as it should be the key on the terms of recipient countries.
During a recent consultative meeting in Lusaka where he was guest of honour in his capacity as acting Head of State, Chikwanda said other continents were looking to Africa, as the best investment opportunity with the highest potential of returns.
During the ninth Meeting of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Fund Ministerial Committee, Chikwanda noted that many countries lagged behind in economic development agendas because of shying away from the process, hence missing out on lucrative investment opportunities from potential investors that are looking up to the continent.
“Let’s not shy away from owning this process and take the lead in bringing in foreign investment but on our terms. Let us not find ourselves in a situation where others see the potential and realise the benefits,” he said.
Chikwanda reiterated President Michael Sata’s call for improved management of the economy to achieve the requisite employment and wealth creation.
However, Chikwanda noted that the impact of such efforts would only produce desired results if they went beyond borders given the interlinked nature of the region.
“The genius of Africa lay in its ability to link economies so that cross-border issues of production, trade and investment could be non-existent.
“On our part, Zambia launched the link Zambia-8000 road construction and rehabilitation which will effectively interconnect Zambia internally and also strategically take advantage of our location at the heart of Africa, linking the country to all her neighbours,” he said.
More impetus in the process was desired by ensuring that all COMESA members implemented their commitments, Chikwanda added.
During the same meeting, then Malawian Finance Minister, Ken Lipenga, said the COMESA Adjustment Facility had shown that it was a viable instrument in the regional integration process.
Lipenga said the facility has recorded an increase in the number of beneficiaries this year.
“The success is further confirmed by the increase in the number of responses received this year ‑ from nine last year to 14 countries ‑ representing 86 percent increase against two initial beneficiaries,” he said.