Lusaka – Angola and Zambia are seeking ways of enhancing private sector trade and investment ties, as economic exchanges between the two Southern African countries remain low despite the touted high potential.
Exports to Angola from Zambia in the last five years averaged just US$5 million per annum, despite the countries having a combined GDP of US$100 billion and a market of 50 million people.
“This is extremely low. Let us together change this status by increasing the volume of trade and investment between our two countries through enhanced private sector participation,” said Mr David Masupa, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) chairperson, during an Angola-Zambia Trade and Investment Webinar for Private Investments and Exports.
The ZDA and AIPAX of Angola jointly organised the webinar.
The ZDA, basing on the Economic Recovery Plan recently launched by President Edgar Lungu, has lined up trade fairs and missions, expos and business-to-business meetings to boost economic ties with Angola.
Angola and Zambia signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement in 2016.
“Trade between Zambia and Angola lies at the heart of the economic development of both countries,” Mr Masupa noted. “Further, our two great countries are both members of the SADC and now Africa Continental Free Trade Area, offering huge trade and investment opportunities.”
ZDA director-general Mr Mukula Makasa said trade and investment were at the heart of regional economic integration.
“To deepen trade and investment, let’s focus on building joint ventures between our private sectors,” added Mr Makasa.
AIPEX chairperson Mr António Henriques da Silva pointed out that there were numerous trade and investment opportunities for Zambian investors in agriculture and mining in Angola; while Lusaka’s top diplomat in Luanda, Ambassador Lawrence Chalungumana, invited the Angolan business community to invest in Zambia.
Observers said the two countries had to overcome barriers posed by different payment systems and the language barrier, among others, to improve bilateral trade and investment.