THE UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says Zambia has the highest inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) compared to other 16 landlocked countries in the region.
UNCTAD New York Office chief Chantal Carpenter said FDI flows to LLDCs fell by 11 per cent in 2013, and that the Asian group of LLDCs experienced the largest fall in FDI flows of nearly 50 per cent.
Ms Carpentier was speaking at a special event on facilitating the participation of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) in regional and global community value chain.
She said despite a mixed picture for African LLDCs, eight of the 16 LLDCs economies increased their FDI inflows, with Zambia attracting the most at $1.8 billion.
At the same function, Zambia’s Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga urged LLDCs to strive to attain sustainable development and save the lives of the people from the poverty circle.
“Our major pre-occupation should be to find lasting solutions to the challenges we face through diversification of our economies, value-addition to the commodities we produce, and enhancing our competitiveness which will enable us join regional and global value chains,” said Mr Mukanga.
He said this would inevitably call for greater cooperation in fundamental transit policies, laws and regulations with Zambia’s neighbours.
He expressed gratitude that UNCTAD continually advocated for a comprehensive development-centred agenda for LLDCs to address transport, transit and trade facilitation challenges.
The minister called on development partners to assist LLDCs invest in infrastructure, development institutions, enhancement of entrepreneurship, training of human resource and skills development, technology acquisition and impart technological know-how in the people.
“Regional integration and cooperation should be strengthened under the new concept of developmental regionalism to develop regional infrastructure networks which would in turn enhance competitiveness and increase productive capacities. Unlocking the trade potential of LLDCs will also require the prioritization of energy supply,” he said.
Presenting a case study on Zambia, economist and interregional consultant Lindani Ndhlovu said Zambia should work with its neighbours within the Regional Economic Community (REC) to develop infrastructure and reduce the cost of transport and electricity.
Mr Ndhlovu urged Government to build a more substantial and diversified industrial base for Zambia, using the catalytic force of the large mining investments and facilitate the development of the manufacturing sector to increase opportunities of how the country could benefit from copper.
The discussion organized by UNCTAD, the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the UN OHRLLS focused on the challenges, opportunities and the way forward for the development of the 32 landlocked developing countries.
In July, the African Union had indicated that in recent years Zambia witnessed a substantial 93 per cent rise in investments compared to 2011, a feature attributable to a well-managed economy and a peaceful transfer of power.