Zim, Zambia eye operationalisation of agro-industrial park

By Stanley James, Business Editor

Zimbabwe and Zambia have stepped up the operationalisation of an agro-industrial park, with the two countries working on a roadmap for implementation.

The two governments and private sector representatives met in Harare this Wednesday to assess and review the proposed project.

Zimbabwe says it is committed to operationalisation of the agro-industrial park.    

“This meeting is being held after proposals were done few months ago, but it is the issue of reality that is critical taking into account the current milestones it is our belief that the project will be a reality,” said the Chief Director Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Florence Makumbe.

The issue of resource mobilisation is key for Zambian authorities.     

Zambia’s Director of Industry Mr Sunday Chikoti noted, “Resources are critical in undertaking the entire process. So, we also have development partners that are needed to ensure reality of the project so that we can also facilitate increased efficiency while focusing on modalities to boost efficiency.”

Development partners are convinced the proposed agro-industrial park is important in promoting regional value chains.       

Mrs Olayinka Bandele, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Director of Inclusive Industrialisation said, “The agro-industrial park bears testimony of how regional economies can add value to raw commodities while ensuring that employment creation is the basic element. What we are seeing today is a reflection of that provided there is commitment, then it means more can be done to consolidate gains.”

The project has also attracted the interest of the African Development Bank, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – COMESA and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), among others.

Its key features include an entire agro-processing unit, with focus on integration towards boosting agriculture produce, including dairy production.