ITC@50 testimonials: Zambia - How ITC is helping Zambia achieve value addition

2 July 2014
ITC News
Support from ITC is helping boost job creation and alleviating poverty in Zambia, says Robert K.K. Sichinga

Trade is an important tool in a country’s strides towards growth and development. Trade allows a country to tap into larger markets and, as such, expands income. It forces a country to acquire new technology and skills, which again enhances competitiveness.

Zambia is a country rich in natural resources. It has huge deposits of ores and is Africa’s largest producer of cobalt and copper. The Government of Zambia has attached major importance to trade, for example by streamlining trade into its national development plan. Zambia has also embarked on policy initiatives aimed at diversifying the economy and reducing reliance on copper exports, with the overall objective of creating employment and industrializing the economy.

Recent years have seen significant growth in non-traditional products: from US$ 484 million in 2004 to more than US$ 3.55 billion in 2013. This strong demand for Zambian products is the result of a range of factors, with increased regional integration being the main influencer. Export promotion activities carried out by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) are also playing a part – as is the technical assistance provided by cooperating partners such as the International Trade Centre (ITC).

For example, ITC technical assistance to the cassava sector led to the development of a cassava strategy. Its implementation means that farmers now have access to early-maturing cassava varieties, while processors are benefitting from higher cassava yields, increasing their output of, for example, flour. And increased production and processing of cassava means more exports to other markets.

Meanwhile, ITC’s technical and financial support to the leather-sector strategy of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa means that the Lusaka Trades Institute will be among the first beneficiaries of equipment for leather processing in Zambia. This will allow production and trade in more value-added products.

ITC support has contributed immensely to the enhancement of regional and international trade. And once all ITC projects are fully implemented, they will not only contribute to increased intraregional trade, but will also boost job creation, which again will lead to increased gross domestic product and to poverty alleviation.