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HomeBusiness ‘DRC now Zambia’s fastest growing export market’  

 ‘DRC now Zambia’s fastest growing export market’  

By Stuart  Lisulo in SOLWEZI

Stanbic Bank says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains Zambia’s second-largest export market, with the trade volumes between the two countries now surpassing levels with China.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2023 Business and Investment Expo in Solwezi, Stanbic Head, Trade and Africa-China Banking Lillian Simfukwe said that trade volumes between Zambia and the DRC ranked the second-highest behind South Africa within the SADC region and Lobito Corridor, according to Bank of Zambia (BoZ) data.

“As Stanbic, we have invested in the Africa Trade Barometer Report to bring out data insights that speak to what is happening in the trade corridors within the region that speaks to narrowing the information gap that our SMEs face. The data points from the Report gives us almost real-time reliable data on what is happening within the region, taking into account elements of the macro-environment, trade openness, barriers to trade, and initiatives each of those countries are doing in facilitating the Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement (AfCTA).

“Our presence at the North-Western Chamber Business and Investment Expo is important because the emerging trade corridors show that DRC remains our ‘cash cow’. Latest information indicates that the DRC reached the second contributor in terms of exports,” Simfukwe said.

REPLACED

The DRC ranked behind South Africa and Switzerland for the international market and had literally replaced China from the data Stanbic observed as of the second quarter.

Simfukwe further elaborated that, “With emerging markets, Angola is at a point that, we need to take the opportunity, a country, as to what is happening; the Lobito Corridor initiative is key and a game-changer towards extracting the opportunities what we are seeing in Angola—the demand is huge! We can leverage our competitive advantage to send seed and grain that is in demand. Namibia is another emerging market; we are seeing a lot of traffic in that corridor—there is an Agreement between Walvis Bay, Ndola and DRC Corridor; that corridor is probably the most priority corridor that entrepreneurs must look out for because of the alignment and the opportunities into the DRC.”

ACCELERATING

On emphasising the Bank’s ability to facilitate global trade, Simfukwe outlined how the Zam-China Trade Connect Facility was accelerating inter-continental trade with China.

“Since launching the Zam-China Trade Connect Facility in May, this year, Stanbic is now able to connect clients, virtually, to agents in China, who are able to source quality goods and ensure they are shipped to Zambia. This solution is an advantage to our clients as they’re connected to 35,000 suppliers through Zam-China Trade Connect and are able to save on time spent on travel, as well as travel and logistic costs,” said Simfukwe.

The 2023 Business and Investment Exposition is a business, trade and investment forum organised by the North-Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Kalumbila Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The forum, whose theme this year, Promoting Business Partnerships and Trade Linkages for Sustainable Growth, was designed to enhance dialogue and foster and intensify commercial linkages among various economic players in Zambia’s North-Western Province and beyond.

INCREASED

Speaking during the official opening of the Expo, North-Western Chamber of Commerce President Kayula Lombanya said the Chamber had witnessed an increase in trade among businesses in the region.

“Having hosted the past two business and investment expos, we have seen an increase in trade between businesses and witnessed tangible linkages and significant information sharing among business players, which is important in making strategic business decisions,” said Lombanya.

Angolan Consular-General, Agostino Manuel Raimundo dos Santos, observed during the opening ceremony that the Lobito Corridor would expedite intra-Africa trade within the region, “With the concession of railway services in the Lobito Corridor to an international consortium on May 7, 2023, infrastructure will be available to serve the economies of neighbouring countries.

Angola is increasingly committed to creating conditions for promoting a business environment attractive for investors.”

 

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