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USAID launches two $44m trade, investment projects in Zambia

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched two projects worth US $44 million to boost further trade and investment in Zambia.

The two undertakings, which are equivalent to more the USAID Business Enabling Project (BEP) and TradeBoost Project, to be implemented between 2022 and 2027.

President Hakainde Hichilema, represented by Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, officiated at the launch of the two projects at the Zambia Potato Company factory in Chongwe District yesterday.

United States Ambassador to Zambia Michael Gonzales said the launch of the two projects illustrated the American people’s commitment to deepening our partnership with the people of Zambia to increase trade and investment between two countries.

Mr Gonzales said America also wanted to play its role in fostering the environment that would enable businesses to thrive, to create Zambian jobs and expand Zambia’s influence in the broader regional economy.
“With Zambia’s current renaissance, now is the time to realise Zambia’s economic potential. Today is the day to unleash the Zambian economy. At this moment, the American people stand forward alongside you to actualize Zambia’s opportunities,” he said.

He said the projects should be viewed as America’s endorsement of investment in the “New Dawn’ Government’s vision for the Zambian economy.

He said Mr Hichilema’s bold vision and unyielding political will to forge a vibrant Zambia, combined with the energy and dynamism from Zambian business leaders and workers, had positioned the country to attract private sector investments and would dramatically accelerate economic growth.

The TradeBoost Project, under the Prosper Africa Initiative, would between 2022 and 2026 increase domestic, regional, and international trade and investment.

The project would help Zambia generate inclusive growth, particularly by working with women and the youth, and taking climate-friendly approaches.

The BEP would between 2022 and 2027 bring together Government, industry, and civil society organisations to identify impediments and devise policy and process remedies to empower business to thrive.

The BEP would also increase gender equality in the economy and inclusive private sector investment and trade in Zambia’s rural parts by facilitating economically-viable, gender-balanced rural enterprises.

“Our intention is to be a true and thoughtful trade partner,” Mr Gonzales said.

The projects would support Zambia in creating a policy environment that tackled challenges, provided women and the youth with greater access to finance and capital and build out value chains that linked rural areas to larger markets, among other benefits.

Mr Gonzales said both projects would focus on the agriculture sector to address rising food insecurity across Africa caused by multiple shocks like the COVID-19, climate change and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

He said increasing Zambia’s food production and exports would vastly improve food security locally, regionally and beyond, among other benefits.

President Hichilema said the launch of the projects had come at a time when the “New Dawn Government was making strides to turnaround Zambia’s fortunes through enhancing economic diversification, job and wealth creation and socio economic development.

“I, therefore, wish to commend the government of the USA for making this occasion come to pass and supporting Zambia’s development efforts,” President Hichilema said.

President Hichilema said the agriculture sector remained the backbone of Zambia’s economy as it contributed to the livelihood of around 70 per cent of the population, particularly those in rural areas.

Mr Hichilema said it was for that reason that it was necessary to implement interventions aimed at the most vulnerable people in society and those measures would serve as building blocks for turning around economies.

“Zambia, as we all know, is endowed in huge potential in agriculture and it is time that we stepped efforts towards harnessing that potential,” he said.

USAID Zambia Mission director Peter Wiebler, BEP steering committee co-chair Guy Phiri, Public Private Dialogue Forum acting chairperson Rosetta, Chabala, Buya Bumba Limited managing director Anthony Barker and MC Sangwani General Suppliers Limited founder Mercy Sakala also spoke at the launch.


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