LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – President Edgar Chagwa Lungu this week commissioned the newly built Members Pavilion Building at the 93rd Lusaka Agriculture and Commercial Show being held under the theme ‘Embracing Industrial Development.’
The launch of the state-of-the-art facility was held alongside the annual Stanbic Bank Presidential lunch.
Speaking after touring the stands at the show, President Lungu said he was happy with the response shown by food value chain players regarding the interpretation of the show’s theme.
He noted that the positive response showed that Zambia was on the right path to achieving industrialisation.
He said: “Value addition plays a key role in the industrialization agenda of any country. Looking at the positive response from stakeholders on value addition, we are definitely on the right path to attaining full industrialization. It is only through the successful implementation of value addition that we will realise our industrialisation agenda.”
Speaking during the Presidential lunch, Stanbic Bank Zambia Board Chairperson Dr Austin Mwape said the show’s theme called for an improved economic diversification drive through industrialisation.
He said: “Zambia is ready to innovate and is beginning to think outside the box; we cannot afford to miss this opportunity but rather must fuel this desire for progress.
“Investing in value addition across sectors such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing will not only help create a healthier and balanced socio-economic standing for the country but also minimise the impact of changes in the prices of minerals and other commodities on the international market.”
Dr Mwape noted that a thriving manufacturing and processing industry promotes economic stability as finished products are less susceptible to market fluctuations compared to the country’s main export - copper.
He explained that increased forex inflow and the creation of employment opportunities were but some of the benefits that can arise from a robust manufacturing and processing sector adding that government could not industrialise the economy alone.
“As we continue to explore ways in which we can stimulate growth in our industries let us have in mind a bigger picture where export of finished products rather than raw materials is the order of the day.
“Stanbic Bank is aware that the sheer magnitude of a full-scale industrialisation project is such that government cannot realise this goal alone. And for Zambia to realise its dream, there must exist a strong Public Private Partnership where the private sector rises to the challenge to compliment government’s efforts.
“At Stanbic, we are committed to retaining our role as Zambia’s leading bank in terms of strategic investments in the economy by providing fresh solutions to the country’s capital needs and financing projects that promote value addition. We will continue to leverage our position as Zambia’s largest bank and the vast expertise that comes with that to help reshape the country into the region’s industrial hub.”
And speaking at the same event, Show Society of Zambia President Caroline Silwamba said: “The construction of the Members’ Pavilion building, is a sign that the show society is part of the country’s infrastructure development. 80 percent of the building material for the pavilion were sourced from local manufacturers. The project provided employment for about 400 people at construction level.”
The pavilion, whose construction started in 2015 has a conference area and a VIP seating area overlooking the show’s main arena.