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ZDA records $8.6bn investment pledges

THE Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has recorded 81 investment pledges valued at US$8.6 billion in the first quarter of 2023 as compared to $8.4 billion recorded the whole of 2022.

In the same period last year, 74 investment pledges were recorded with an investment of $240.13 million representing an increase of 3,463.61 percent.

ZDA Director General Albert Halwampa said during a Press briefing on developmental highlights for the first quarter of this year that the major contributing sectors to the $8.6 billion investment pledges were energy accounting for $8 billion or 93.57 per cent.

Others were manufacturing which contributed $252 million, representing three per cent while the agriculture sector had $79 million representing 0.94 per cent.

Mr Halwampa attributed the increase in the number of investment pledged in the first quarter of 2023 to President Hakainde Hichilema’s foreign trips aimed at unlocking foreign investments.

He said the $8.6 billion of investment pledges that were recorded, the first in the history of Zambia were direct linked to the foreign trips that President Hichilema was making.

“The high level engagements by the head of State have stimulated high levels of interests by investors into the country. The foreign trips taken by President Hichilema should be supported because they are cardinal in unlocking investment opportunities and grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.

Mr Halwampa said the country’s $20 billion GDP was too small for a nation endowed with resources, therefore, President Hichilema should continue his high-level engagement to attract more investments into Zambia and grow the economy.

“We needed a president who is so clear, so courageous to deal with trade and investment, he is so clear,” he added.

He said that ZDA had high levels of investors wanting to invest in Zambia because the president was consistent about the trade and investment mandate.

On export promotion and development, Mr Halwampa said the country recorded total exports worth $3.45 billion.

Out of which $2.52 billion were traditional exports and non-traditional exports which accounted for $0.92 billion.

He said the country’s total earning exports increased by 15 per cent from $3 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2022 to $3.45 billion in the corresponding period in 2023.

“Traditional exports grew by 11 per cent from $2.28 recorded in 2022 to $2.52 billion recorded in the same period in 2023, while nontraditional exports increased by 28 per cent from $0.77 billion recorded in 2022 to $0.92 billion in 2023,” Mr Halwampa.

He said ZDA facilitated market access for 20 exporters to potential buyers, 101 exporters were audited under export audit on the Copperbelt, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces and 118 trained in export readiness.

Mr Halwampa said ZDA would continue diligently carrying out its mandate of promoting facilitating trade and investment to create jobs and wealth for the country.

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