Harare – The Zambia-Zimbabwe Technical Working Group (TWG) is pursuing a joint industrialisation action matrix to improve the competitiveness of goods produced by the two countries.
TWG committees comprised of technocrats from the ministries of industry, commerce, trade and agriculture are working to advance the different pillars agreed in an MoU.
Private sector representatives from Zambia and Zimbabwe in May this year signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a joint industrialisation strategy spearheaded by the COMESA Secretariat.
At the Third Joint TWG virtual meeting on June 18, COMESA Assistant Secretary-General (Programmes) Dr Kipyego Cheluget said the Joint Zambia-Zimbabwe Industrialisation Programme held great promise for achievement of Eastern and Southern Africa’s industrialisation goals.
“In COMESA, we take this programme seriously as it will set the pace towards achieving the aspirations of the region as we regard it as a flagship project,” he said. “Article 99 of the COMESA Treaty calls for COMESA member states to co-operate in the field of industrial development and to co-ordinate policies in establishing agro-industries to achieve regional sustainable and inclusive economic transformation.”
Zambian Secretary for Commerce, Trade and Industry Mr Mushuma Mulenga said the government in Lusaka placed industrial development at the core of its development agenda in its 10-year National Industrial Policy.
“The additional policy and strategic measures will create an enabling environment to enhance inclusive and sustainable industrial development” Mr Mulenga said.
Zimbabwean Secretary for Industry and Commerce, Dr Mavis Sibanda, told the meeting that the timing of the programme was appropriate as it coincided with commencement of implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“The AfCTA promises a greater opportunity for both countries to widen access to global supply chains and export higher value goods and services,” she said. “Increasing African intra-trade through regional value chains provides African manufacturing firms economies of scale and linkages to value chains connected to the global market.”