THERE is need for Zambia to accelerate its industrialisation efforts if the country has to achieve economic development, the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) says.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers acting chief executive officer Lewis Chimfwembe said that industrialisation has been behind robust development that countries such as Canada, Germany, Italy, and Japan are enjoying.
Mr Chimfwembe said the key to poverty eradication, high unemployment rates and overdependence on exports of primary products that underdeveloped nations are facing lies in scaling up of the industrialisation agenda.
“Zambia has abundant raw materials, favourable climatic conditions and abundant labour force, yet the country continues to suffer from high poverty and unemployment rates, and overdependence on exports of primary products,” Mr Chimfwembe said in an interview.
He said to create employment, add value to raw materials and diversify the export basket, it is important for Zambia to fast-track her industrialisation drive.
Mr Chimfwembe said industrialisation creates new markets and linkages, promoting supporting industries which will in turn contribute to Zambia’s economic growth.
He said industrialisation is the growth and diversification of the manufacturing sector, and as the sector [manufacturing] grows, the variation of products also increases with demand for new products.
Mr Chimfwembe said this creates a market for new commodities and emergence of supporting industries such as primary and tertiary industry.
He said when industrialisation is in full swing, it creates a demand for specialised skills and increased labour demand which can be addressed through emerging industries that are a result of growth in the manufacturing sector.
“Industrialisation leads to increased exports, self-reliance and growth of foreign reserves, and as the manufacturing sector grows and new and advanced products emerge, the range of products a country exports widens, leading to more foreign exchange earnings, triggering appreciation of the local currency.