FINANCE Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has said the effects of climate change should not just be viewed as catastrophic, but should also welcome the opportunities that arise as a result of the natural occurrence.
Dr Musokotwane said Zambia has embraced the effects of climate change, especially in the green revolution to manufacture electric car batteries.
He said Zambia had so far reached out to car manufacturing companies in South Africa to engage them over the planned plant to produce EVS batteries.
“We have reached out to motor vehicle manufacturing companies like BMW, Volkes Wagon and Toyota because we are aware that these cars that smoke will be banned soon.
“Now with these changes, the focus will be on copper, cobalt and manganese. We have these but that is not enough, we need to produce things here in Zambia and export them to the region,” he said.
Dr Musokotwane said this during a panel discussion on “Harnessing natural capital to finance climate and green growth in Africa”, at the 2023 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank in Egypt yesterday.
He also said the war in Ukraine had now shown that the world depended on Eastern Europe for grains as such the conflict had exerted grain shortages in many African countries.
“Because if climate change some of our neighbours had experienced floods while others had drought situations so they had to import grains from Ukraine. But we have vast space here which we can exploit to grow food.
“We need to do it ourselves. But to do this you need to be competitive on the world market. It is not enough to say we have land or water. We have to transform them into produce to bring in capital,” he said.
Dr Musokotwane said countries should find a clever mix of the way to attract investment in the wake of climate change.
Dr Musokotwane also said human capital was key in realising the potential in natural resources on the continent.
“We need both human capital and natural resources to tap into the potential on the continent. It will take time for the opportunities from climate change to trickle down to the people.
“But what we need to do now is to create viable irrigation schemes in time of droughts while supporting water harvesting initiatives during floods so that our people are not food insecure,” he said.