SOUTH Africa is Zambia’s largest trade and investment partner with trade volumes between the two countries having soared to about US$430 million as at October this year, President Edgar Lungu has said.
President Lungu said his Government had continued to improve the investment climate and implement economic policies aimed at creating an enabling business environment in order to attract foreign direct investment as well as stimulate local investment.
The President said he was happy that the Zambian and South African business communities had partnered and established the Zambia South African Business Council whose purpose was to foster sustainable trade and investment between the two countries.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in his honour by the Zambia South Africa Business Council in Johannesburg on Saturday, President Lungu said the business council was expected to act as a business information portal on trade and investment for the two countries.
The President said it was his desire that the ZSABC would emulate the best practices of other global business councils to hasten the pace of achieving its objectives.
He explained that it was his expectation that the Zambia-South Africa Business Council would provide information on regulatory, labour and immigration issues.
President Lungu said Government had continued to pursue the implementation of the private sector development initiatives that would promote and facilitate the development of a competitive private sector.
“As a result of the business environment reforms, Zambia is now ranked 8th in Africa, 7th in Sub-Sharan Africa, 5th in SADC and 4th in COMESA in terms of the ease of doing business. Zambia is also ranked the 8th most competitive country in Africa on the global competitiveness index,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State explained that large businesses had used business councils as a means for integrating local micro, small and medium enterprises as well as cooperatives in their value chains.