ZAMBIA has said that sustained, resilient infrastructure development and industrialisation are key to the exponential and inclusive transformation of the economies of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba has observed that LLDCs have remained greatly disadvantaged due to their special needs and challenges due to their geographical location.
Mr Mushimba however, stated that with strong partnerships and enhanced international support, it was Zambia’s hope that infrastructure development and industrialization could create efficient transit transport systems in LLDCs.
Mr Mushimba who is the global chair of the Group of LLDCs said Landlocked Developing Countries have continued to attract the attention of United Nations (UN) as a vehicle to the industrialization of the African continent as a means of eradicating poverty.
Speaking at the 2017 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Meeting in New York on Wednesday, Mr Mushimba stated that full industrialisation of Africa is the surest means of addressing and eradicating poverty and creating decent employment.
The 2017 ECOSOC Special Meeting was convened to specifically focus on innovation for infrastructure development and promoting sustainable industrialisation because it has remained the proven and important source of employment and decent work for LLDCs and countries in special situations.
Mr Mushimba was accompanied by Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations (UN) Charge d’ Affaires Christine Kalamwina and other mission officials.
“Infrastructure development and industrialization is expensive and the funding gap just too wide. Higher levels of infrastructure financing are critical in terms of both quality and quantity. Zambia is investing in transport infrastructure such as the L400 and L800 to link the country internally and open up rural areas as well as connect to the eight neighbouring countries,” Mr Mushimba said.
He said it is important that multilateral development banks should establish dedicated infrastructure funding for LLDCs and that special instruments and vehicles are needed to help the countries de-risk investment.
Mr Mushimba said the nexus between industrialization and infrastructure development is critical and that it was important that it should be particularly recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and should take into consideration the priorities of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs for the decade 2014 to 2024.
“LLDCs are marginalised due to geographical challenges and are isolated from major international markets apart from facing high trade and transport costs. Our countries’ challenges are further compounded by inadequate transport, information and communications technology, and energy infrastructure, as well as structural transformation and economic diversification, he explained.
He stated that the reliance on natural resources-based commodities such as agricultural and mineral products often made LLDCs vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations and that Zambia being a major copper exporter has not been spared.
ECOSOC believes that investing in requisite infrastructure can foster social inclusion and expand opportunities for poverty eradication within the next generation as it accounted to almost 500 million jobs worldwide.
ECOSOC is promoting sustainable industrialisation and the growth of the agro-industry because the sectors have remained the main drivers of growth in most developing countries, especially in rural areas.
The report of ECOSOC special meeting will contribute to the 2017 High Level Political Forum to be held in July,2017 at which the Sustainable Development Goal 9 to Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation will be among the seven SDGs whose implementation progress will be reviewed.