Secretary to the cabinet Roland Msiska has said the industrialisation agenda is key to achieving major economic and technological transformation at both national and regional levels in accelerating growth and wealth creation in our economies.
He added that the key goals and objectives set for the region simply indicates that there is still along way to go as most states are no longer near the 7 percent real annual Gross Domestic Product – GDP Growth rates.
Zambia in the 2019 budget has projected a growth rate of 4% which is considered below par to be able to lift an economy and its people into the desired growth levels needed to attain tangible development.
Speaking this morning during the SADC regional meeting on copper beneficiation and mining inputs value chains in Lusaka, Msiska noted that no significant improvements in the economy, especially the growth in manufacturing and value added together with social economic transformation which is largely static.
“This is an indication that we have more to do. Some of you might argue the three years of industrialisation agenda is not a long period to make significant changes to our economic domain”.
“Honesty I do not agree with this, we need to get to a place where if we are going to catch up with every body else, three years is a lot of time. We could have done a lot of things, as the world is embracing the forth industrial revolution,” he said.
Msiska further lamented that as a region and continent, movements in the resource sector with the percentage discovery of high grade copper and cobalt mainly in Zambia and the DRC have been witnessed.
“This discovery is vey important as there have been a substantial growth in the demand for batteries primarily drive from the electric vehicle for which primary raw materials are cobalt and lithium”.
“This developments are not only a good news for us but a clear goal to identify and examine ourselves both as individuals and a region tom take advantage of this changes and understand for the betterment of our people”.
He said that “Indeed the SADC region is home to abundant mineral resources of high value and in terms of global reserve the region accounts for over 90% of platinum group metals and 50% of cobalt and diamond respectively.
He highlighted the fact that the region is home of over 300 operating mines with qualified and competent personnel who need good infrastructures and services. But have not yet exploited the welfare of been a mineral rich continent.
“What is more critical is whether we are maximising the benefit of being the source of this resources, this is clear and straight forward that we are not” Msiska said.
He thanked the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for they support in engaging a team of consultancy proper the number of mineral value chains in the region. He wondered the little progress made in implementing of key outcomes in terms of strategic interventions and development of potential products.