6. July 2009

Zambia: Infrastructure Development Key to Economic Growth, Says Trade Fair Chief

THE chairperson for the Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) Phesto Musonda has said that infrastructure was an essential driver of competitiveness which is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of any economy.

Mr Musonda said at the official opening of the 45th edition of the ZITF that development of essential public infrastructure was an important ingredient for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction especially for developing countries like Zambia.

"Additionally adequate investment in i nfrastructure such as health, education, water sanitation and energy sectors help in attracting quality local and foreign investment as well as laying the ground for more productive, healthy population capable of contributing to sustainable economic growth," Mr Musonda said.

The ZITF was therefore pleased that the Government had embraced infrastructure development in the development plans of the country.

A good example was the establishment of multi -facility economic zones.

Mr Musonda however said that the development of vital infrastructure such as hydro power stations in the energy sector or transport facilities could not be left to the Government alone.

He said for the countries in this particular region to compete in international trade, there was need to invest in transport and communications infrastructure.

Mr Musonda said the cost of transport in the region was among the highest and so there was need to invest in particularly the rail networks.
He also said that despite the economic financial melt down, this year's trade fair attracted 500 local companies comprising large, medium and small scale businesses compared to over 300 that participated last year.

Last year, 130 foreign companies from 12 countries compared to 120 from 14 countries this year participated.

Among the countries represented were China, Tanzania, South Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo DR, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Kenya.

New entrants were Indonesia, Japan and Ghana.

Mr Musonda said Indonesia was participating as a result of President Rupiah Banda's invitation when he officiated at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

He thanked all the companies that participated and presidents Kikwete and Banda for attending the fair. (SOUTH SCAN)


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