Vice President Inonge Wina has reaffirmed Government’s commitment to diversify Copperbelt Province economy from mono sector dependence.
Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme represented the Vice-President and officially launched the Copperbelt Investments Expo at Edgar Chagwa Lungu Convention Centre in Kitwe Saturday night.
The Vice-President expressed satisfaction that the Copperbelt Investment Expo will expose and open up relatively new and unknown districts in the province.
“I am delighted to see how you have aligned your Investment Expo to the Seventh National Development Plan.
This has been clearly spelt out in the way you have framed the theme for the Expo which is ‘Broadening the Copperbelt economy through diversified Investment’,” Vice-President Wina said.
“Your areas of focus for investment also marries well with the sectors of focus at national level. This also includes your expected outcome of the Expo that is diversification, job creation and poverty reduction.”
She said the Government is open to dialogue and that whenever investors felt there are policies that affect business promotion, or can promote business and investment, they should be free to engage Government leadership.
The Vice-President advised Local Authorities in the province to pass by-laws that promote local economic development and attract investment.
“I call upon the local authorities, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, our Royal Highnesses and all other service providers to be well prepared to offer the necessary support to our would-be investors,” Vice-President Wina said. “Let not bureaucracy and red-tape make us lose out on investment from our investors. Where appropriate, strategise and make it easy for the investors to set camp.”
The Copperbelt Investment Expo is expected to spread development to the three rural districts of Lufwanyama, Mpongwe and Masaiti; enhance partnerships and linkages with local entrepreneurs through joint ventures and Private Public Partners; enhance awareness of the province to the outside world as a preferred destination for investment and increase job opportunities; and provide an avenue for skills transfer through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) within the province.
The size of Copperbelt Province is about 31, 328 square kilometers with 10 districts, about 1.97 million people and the population is expected to reach 2.6 million people by next year, according the provincial administration.
The province’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about 29 per cent. Apart from mining, which is the mainstay of the economy, other areas of potential investment – according to the provincial administration – are agriculture, forestry and tourism.
Copperbelt Province is one of the regions with high rainfall per annum.
Copperbelt Province Minister Hon. Japhen Mwakalombe said the province would use the Expo to escalate its economic diversification.
Mr. Mwakalombe appealed to local and international investors to explore the many investment opportunities, with high returns, that are available in the regional.
This is according to a statement issued to the Media by Ministry of National Development Planning spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba.