Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister says the on going Ease of Doing Business Initiative (EDBI) Conference in the Tourist capital of Livingstone is vital for Zambia and other countries, as it provides an objective measure of business regulation effectiveness.
Margaret Mwanakatwe says the initiative also provides an opportunity to stimulate dialogues that support increased revenue and reduced transaction costs when conducting trade between countries.
According to the 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report, Zambia Ranked 9th in Africa, 7th In Sub-Saharan Africa, and 5th in the SADC region, and 5th In COMESA Regional Markets.
The minister said in Livingstone today during the 8th Edition of the 2017 Ease of Doing Business Initiative Conference meeting.
The conference is being held under the theme: ‘Business Reforms for Industrialization, value addition and job creation,’ and has attracted delegates from over 23 countries.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe noted that the theme resonated well with the regional economic and continental integration agenda, as well as Zambia’s aspirations to achieve economic and social transformation in order to contribute towards reducing poverty levels.
“Government believes this conference provides a good platform for all countries participating to better understand the requirements of the Doing Business Index and it also serves as a valuable learning mechanism,” she said.
Meanwhile, World Bank Group Practice Manager David Bridgman described reform issues in the business sector as challenging and require collaboration from key stakeholders.
“Some of the decisions made are politically dangerous and require courage for leaders to show leadership. So Ease of Doing Business is not easy due to vested interests,” he said.
And Livingstone Mayor Eugene Mapuwo said the local authority believes that the conference would yield positive results that will serve local communities and also reduce the cost of doing trade.
Mr. Mapuwo noted that with representatives from ECOWAS, COMESA and SADC regional economic communities, the desire to industrialize was top of the agenda within the African Union.
The mayor said in a speech read on his behalf by the deputy mayor , Grandwell Chibamba.
Zambia has taken over Chairmanship from Kenya, with the Ease of Doing Business Initiative Steering Committee President having been taken up by Zambia under the leadership of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame.
The Mayor in congratulating Ms Siame, also recognized Kenya for not only playing the chairmanship in the business forum, but has also played host country a number of times.
The countries participating at the conference include Liberia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Mozambique, Kenya, Gabon, East African Community Secretariat (Tanzania), Sierra Leone, Angola, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Comoros, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, Seychelles, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and host country Zambia