By Emmanuel Mumba – PMRC Research Assistant

The economic prospect for Zambia is in recovery mode, having experienced a wave of financial and economic deterioration in the last decades, which, together with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, that saw the country default on its Euro bond payments in 2020. The World Bank projects the economy to grow by 3.8% between 2022 to 2024. Critical to this projection which forms the basis of this article, include; a stable macroeconomic framework, predictable mining regime, positive copper price outlook, improved balance of payments and trade openness.

It is well documented that Zambia is comparatively located geographically. However, the country has not advanced itself to realise this potential. Against this background, the government has embarked on an economic agenda to reconfigure the country’s growth framework and has identified regional economic linkages as critical drivers. Among other economic linkages is the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor, a market topology linking Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The significance of this development corridor is that Zambia already enjoys favourable trade balances with Namibia and DRC. Therefore, this lays a proper foundation for the country not only to scale up its trade volume with the two countries but also extend its footprints beyond Africa. However, critical to this depends on how the country essentially leverages its stable macroeconomic framework to attract the much needed private sector investment necessary to scale up production in the manufacturing value chain. The Foreign Private Investment & Perceptions Survey (2021) revealed that political stability and good governance environment are major determinants of the private sector investment influx in Zambia.  Further, the expended trade volume prospects will also depend on how the country leverages its agricultural potential. Empirically, aside from having favourable weather conditions suitable for a variety of crops, Zambia accounts for about 60% of natural water bodies in southern Africa, thus, making it better positioned to circumvent different acute climate patterns on crop productivity through irrigation schemes as compared to other countries in the region.  Further, the unfortunate food insecurity in the DRC establishes a natural demand for the country’s agricultural outputs, for which the supply has remained low.

Zambia exported US$1.35B to Namibia in 2020, representing a 37.7% annualised rate increase from US$2.24M in 2000. The major products included Raw Copper at US$1.15B, Refined Copper at US$126M, and Electricity at $46M. Meanwhile, Namibia exported US$226M worth of merchandise to Zambia, translating to about 28.2% annualised increase from $1.58M in 2000. The main exports included Non-Fillet Frozen Fish at US$70.9M, Acrylic Polymers at US$35.3M, and Steel Bars at US$32.1M.  Regarding trade directions with the DRC, Zambia exported $952M worth of products to that country (about 15.4% annualized rate increase from $26.6M in 1995). This included Sulphuric Acid at US$96.9M, Copper Ore at US$87M, and Quicklime at US$66.7M, among others. Similarly, the Democratic Republic of the Congo exported US$372M to Zambia in 2020 (about 20% annualized rate increase from US$3.88M in 1995).  The main products included Refined Copper at US$290M, Copper Ore at US$65.9M and Cobalt Oxides and Hydroxides at US$8.13M.

Therefore, for the country to fully harness and expand its export volumes with Namibia, DRC and beyond, as mentioned earlier, PMRC urges the Government to continue on a policy trajectory of maintaining stable macroeconomic frameworks for the private sector to flourish. In turn, this will advance the investment attractability of the country in key sectors such as mining and manufacturing.  Further, agricultural comparativeness, which the country enjoys, should be utilized and buoyed with increased investments in crop productivity and irrigation schemes.

By Alice Pearce – Senior Researcher at PMRC

In a bid to address the high unemployment levels in Zambia the Government has been implementing a number of empowerment programmes, particularly those under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Arts, Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, the Department of Gender, Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission and more recently, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, among others, targeted at supporting the economic empowerment drive of the women and youth. These programmes are aimed at fostering job creation and economic growth through entrepreneurship as a vehicle. These programmes also provide citizens opportunities to participate in the growth of the economy by accessing capital to invest in viable business ventures.

Although the empowerment programme initiative is commendable as it supports innovation and entrepreneurship which are the critical pillars for economic growth and social and economic inclusion, notable challenges have been observed in the effective management and accountability of empowerment funds to derive real economic benefit to the beneficiaries as well as the government at large.

Therefore, financial literacy has emerged as an essential pre-requisite for effective and efficient management of the funds accessed by beneficiaries venturing into businesses under the current empowerment programmes. Not only will enhancing the financial literacy of beneficiaries increase the sense of ownership within beneficiaries of the funds, it will equally enable them to fully take control of the opportunities available to them and guarantee their businesses to be self-sufficient. However, findings from the 2020 FinScope survey indicate that a significant amount of the population experience low financial capabilities with financial inclusion recorded at 71.2% for men and 67.9% for women. This has been attributed to low levels of financial literacy which is largely skewed towards the urban population at 31.9% and 16.2% among rural households. Hence, limited financial literacy remains a major barrier for the successful implementation of economic empowerment programmes in order to transform the economic outcomes of ordinary citizens.

It is crucial to note that empowerment should not only be about access to seed capital, it should rather focus on providing a comprehensive programme that is sustainable by giving more power to beneficiaries through education, information, coaching and counseling, as well as amplify the possibilities to get or create a job or business, access micro-credits and ICT networks in order to inculcate business values in the beneficiaries, particularly for those who are not typically familiar with running a profitable business. Further, enhancing relevant trade skills has the potential to make beneficiaries competitive in their respective fields in order to maximise profit margins. Hence, Government is urged to consider integrating these aspects into the current empowerment programmes.

Furthermore, there is need to create guidelines that clearly identify eligible candidates through a robust mechanism that seeks to provide tailored mentorship and training programmes of candidates to actualise their business proposals. At the onset of the empowerment programme, eligible beneficiaries should be taught financial literacy courses before fully embarking on their investments as this will form the basic foundation for the success of the programme. Similarly, building the capacity of candidates in requisite financial, negotiation, marketing and product development skills is necessary to effectively achieve the goals of empowerment programmes.

Moreover, enhanced financial literacy skills will enable beneficiaries to effectively track their expenditure and balance their income with expenditure which is critical for assessing the profitability of the venture. By embedding basic business management practices and principles into the current empowerment programmes will enable candidates to understand the basics of business management and develop their competencies to generate and sustain their income while improving the sustainability of the empowerment programmes, particularly in the case of revolving funds were beneficiaries need to pay back loans. Equally, for funds accessed as grants, beneficiaries need to account for the funds in order to achieve the goal of the programme that has a multiplier effect which should trickle down to improved quality of life of the beneficiaries and direct economic benefits within the community as well as the local economy.

In addition, when beneficiaries of empowerment programmes are financially literate, it can be expected that there will be a general motivation to access formal financial services in order to expand their businesses as they will be able to have balanced and well documented business transactions. Therefore, there is need to facilitate linkages between financial lending institutions and beneficiaries of empowerment programmes in order to improve financial inclusion through technical assistance that relevant financial service providers are able to give to the beneficiaries. This will also nurture the skill of saving and growing the savings of the business which is critical for the evolution of the business from one of empowerment to that of self-sustainability.

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) is a public policy think tank that was established in 2012 to promote public understanding through research and education. Our role is to encourage and facilitate debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development. PMRC’s vision is “Unlocking Zambia’s Potential” through evidence-based policy research analysis and reform proposals. www.pmrc.com

PMRC is a grant-aided institution under Gazette Notice No. 123 of 2021 within the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

The institutions’ core analytical areas include; economic Development, Good Governance, Natural Resources & the Environment, and Social Development & Livelihoods.

Within these work areas, PMRC seeks to:

  • Promote public understanding through research and education;
  • Encourage debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development;
  • Disseminate research-based policy reform proposals; and
  • Support the Government in recommending policies and procedures critical for national development.

To deliver its mandate PMRC works with, and leverages pragmatic information, communication, and outreach networks of various institutions. These include Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Academia, International Organizations and Cooperating Partners, National Assembly, Private Sector, and the Media. This approach of collaboration has enhanced PMRC’s relevance to national development through awareness of public policy.

In the last 10 years, PMRC’s internal and external operating environment has undergone major institutional transformation. There has been an increased demand for the institutions’ work and its outputs from numerous stakeholders. Due to the changes in the policy environment, there has been an increased need for a highly competent and productive workforce that is capable of responding to the ever-evolving space. Therefore, in keeping with its vision to unlock Zambia’s potential through producing high-quality, relevant and timely policy analysis, evidence-based research and reform proposals critical for national development, PMRC has to constantly adapt to the ever-changing operating environment and ensure that it continues to deliver quality services in line with its mandate.

 

Objectives of the Assignment

  • Job Evaluation and Human Resource Audit.

 

Scope and Specific Objective of the Consultancy

  • To analyze the existing institutional structure and its alignment to the mandate, stated aims, thematic areas, and matching financial capacity;
  • To recommend an appropriate institutional structure for PMRC and its consequent staffing levels based on the outcome of the skills gap analysis;
  • To conduct a job evaluation on all jobs and undertake a job grading exercise for all jobs in order to ensure that the job grading structure properly reflects the relative weight and size of the jobs as intended in the institutional structure;
  • Review and analyze the current job descriptions and develop job specifications for current and revised structures and propose key performance indicators;
  • Develop an institutional salary structure;
  • Implement a Performance Management System that is robust enough to ensure that staff deliver on agreed targets based on annual plans.
  • Conduct a job evaluation/analysis exercise on the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and the required work environment;
  • Suggest the basis for developing an equitable pay structure across PMRC based on a logical method of measuring relative job scope and size and best practice;
  • Recommend an appropriate bonus system for the institution;
  • Presentation and submission of a final skills gap analysis report results and recommendations related to appropriate organizational structure; and
  • Recommend effective communication and change management throughout the process.

 

Requirement

The individual should demonstrate;

  • Minimum of Masters Degree in fields related to human resource management, change management, statistics and related fields;
  • Minimum experience of 5 years in providing similar services;
  • Proven track record in the area of compensation and benefits analysis, including for comparable international organizations for at least five years;
  • Experience in the field of human resource management and experience in undertaking salary surveys for at least five years;
  • Familiarity with labour market issues for at least five years and knowledge of the Employment Code Act of 2019;
  • Ability to render consulting services in the most professional, effective and efficient manner;
  • Fluent in English; and
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills.

 

Expected deliverables

  • Inception report
  • Skills gap analysis report.
  • Job evaluation report.
  • Proposed institutional structure.
  • Proceedings report.

 

Timeframe

This assignment will be executed over 20 working days.

 

Application procedure

Expressions of interest clearly marked “Expression of Interest for consultancy to provide services to conduct a Job Evaluation and Skills Gap Analysis of PMRC” must be submitted via email only to info@pmrczambia.net and copy human.resource@pmrczambia.net.

The closing date for the Expression of Interest is 22nd July 2022 at 17:00hrs Local Time. Late Expressions of interest will not be accepted.

Applications must be addressed to:

The Acting Executive Director

Policy Monitoring and Research Centre

Corner of John Mbita and Nationalist roads, Ridgeway

Private Bag, KL 10

Lusaka.

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) is a public policy think tank that was established in 2012 to promote public understanding through research and education. Our role is to encourage and facilitate debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development. PMRC’s vision is “Unlocking Zambia’s Potential” through evidence-based policy research analysis and reform proposals. www.pmrc.com

PMRC is a grant-aided institution under Gazette Notice No. 123 of 2021 within the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

The institutions’ core analytical areas include; economic Development, Good Governance, Natural Resources & the Environment, and Social Development & Livelihoods.

Within these work areas, PMRC seeks to:

  • Promote public understanding through research and education;
  • Encourage debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development;
  • Disseminate research-based policy reform proposals; and
  • Support the Government in recommending policies and procedures critical for national development.

To deliver its mandate PMRC works with, and leverages pragmatic information, communication, and outreach networks of various institutions. These include Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Academia, International Organizations and Cooperating Partners, National Assembly, Private Sector, and the Media. This approach of collaboration has enhanced PMRC’s relevance to national development through awareness of public policy.

Organizations striving for best practices in corporate governance will have in place a Board Charter that all board members understand and formally commit to through selection, induction and annual review process. Whilst the development and documentation of a board charter is generally unique to each organization and reflects the specific nuances of the business, several core components should be included in every such document.

It is against this background that the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) proposes to contract a legal/ corporate governance expert to develop a Board Charter that will form the basis for the operations of the PMRC Board of Governors as enshrined in the institutional constitution.

 

Objectives of the Assignment

The main objective of the assignment is to develop a Board Charter to set out the key values of the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) Board of Governors. To provide a concise overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Governors, power of the Board, various board committees and their roles, separation of roles between the board and management, and the policies and practices in respect of corporate governance matters.

 

Scope and Objectives of the Assignment

The consultant will develop a charter with the following;

  1. Terms of reference and person specification for board composition.
  2. Standard Operations Procedures/Manual (SOP) Meeting operations (No of meetings, quorum, notices, etc).
  3. Roles and responsibilities of the board and propose working committees.
  4. Code of conduct for board members.
  5. Board appraisal.
  6. Risk management.
  7. Reporting mechanisms.
  8. Legal implications and provisions.

 

Expected deliverables

  • Inception report.
  • Board Charter.

 

Timeframe

This assignment will be executed over 10-working days.

 

Consultant specifications

  • A Bachelor of Laws degree or any related field.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
  • A Legal Practicing Certificate is an added advantage.
  • At least 10 years of experience in legal practice.
  • At least seven (7) years of professional experience in the development of board charters.
  • Proven experience in the development of board documents as evidenced by at least two case studies.
  • Member of a corporate body.

 

Knowledge and skills

Working knowledge of Zambian laws is an added advantage.

 

Application procedure

Expressions of interest clearly marked “Expression of Interest for Consultancy to Provide Services for the Development of a Board Charter” must be submitted via email only to info@pmrczambia.net and copy human.resource@pmrczambia.net.

The closing date for the Expression of Interest is 22nd July 2022 at 17:00hrs Local Time. Late Expressions of interest will not be accepted.

Applications must be addressed to:

The Acting Executive Director

Policy Monitoring and Research Centre

Corner of John Mbita and Nationalist roads, Ridgeway

Private Bag, KL 10

Lusaka.

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) is a public policy think tank that was established in 2012 to promote public understanding through research and education. Our role is to encourage and facilitate debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development. PMRC’s vision is “Unlocking Zambia’s Potential” through evidence-based policy research analysis and reform proposals. www.pmrc.com

PMRC is a grant-aided institution under Gazette Notice No. 123 of 2021 within the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

The institutions’ core analytical areas include; economic Development, Good Governance, Natural Resources & the Environment, and Social Development & Livelihoods.

Within these work areas, PMRC seeks to:

  • Promote public understanding through research and education;
  • Encourage debate on social and economic policy issues critical to national development;
  • Disseminate research-based policy reform proposals; and
  • Support the Government in recommending policies and procedures critical for national development.

To deliver its mandate PMRC works with, and leverages from pragmatic information, communication, and outreach networks of various institutions. These include Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Academia, International Organizations and Cooperating Partners, National Assembly, Private Sector and the Media. This approach of collaboration has enhanced PMRC’s relevance to national development through awareness of public policy.

 

Objectives of the Assignment

The objective of the consultancy is to develop a three (3) year Strategic Plan to ensure that the institution fulfills its mandate.

 

Scope and Specific Objectives of the Consultancy

The scope of work for the Consultant will include but not be limited to:

  • Review the vision, mission, and values based on PMRC‘s mandate;
  • Undertake stakeholder mapping and analysis;
  • Undertake a Situation Analysis of PMRC’s operations to date;
  • Through a consultative process and application of appropriate tools of analysis, identify focus areas and develop strategic objectives and key result areas for the same;
  • Review the Institutional Capacity, Organizational set-up, financial and administrative systems against the PMRC mandate and the identified strategic objectives and key result areas and make recommendations, if any;
  • Propose a strategy for achieving the strategic objectives and key results;
  • Develop a Results and Resources Framework for the plan period;
  • Preparation of Strategic Planning document;
  • Prepare a roadmap for the development of the strategic plan;
  • Hold stakeholder meeting(s) to validate the draft Strategic Plan; and
  • Finalize the Strategic plan and submit it to PMRC.

 

Deliverables/Outputs

a) A three-year Strategic Plan (2023-2025) including a results and resources framework.

b) Report on the process including stakeholder consultations and workshops.

 

Assignment duration

This assignment is expected to be carried out for a period of 40 working days.

 

Preliminary Selection Criteria

The Consulting Firm should be able to provide the following:

i. Current company certificate of incorporation/ registration.

ii. Proof of statutory compliance including tax in the country of incorporation/registration.

iii. Litigation status.

iv. Financial statement for the last 3 years.

 

Qualification of the Firm

The Consulting firm should demonstrate the following:

  • At least seven (7) years of professional experience in Strategic Planning and Management and facilitation of Strategic Plan development.
  • At least five (5) years of working experience on assignments on Strategic Plan development for Grant-Aided Institutions or Public Institutions.
  • Prior experience in working with the Government and its partners and other stakeholders in the public sector, especially in the area of research, policy analysis, policy development, management, and program-related work.

 

Team Leader – Skills and Competencies:

  • Skills in facilitation of stakeholder engagements/workshops;
  • Evidence of having undertaken similar assignments;
  • Experience in research, policy development, management and corporate governance;
  • Demonstration of participatory approaches in conducting assessments and facilitating strategic planning processes; and
  • Current member of a relevant professional body.

 

Selection Method

The consultants will be selected using the Least Cost Based Selection method in accordance with the Public Procurement Act No. 8 of 2020 and the Public Procurement Regulations of 2022.

 

Application procedure

Expressions of interest clearly marked “Expression of Interest for Consultancy to Provide Services of Developing an Institutional Strategic Plan for PMRC” must be submitted via email only to info@pmrczambia.net and copy human.resource@pmrczambia.net.

The closing date for the Expression of Interest is 29th July, 2022 at 17:00hrs Local Time. Late Expressions of interest will not be accepted.

Applications must be addressed to:

The Acting Executive Director

Policy Monitoring and Research Centre

Corner of John Mbita and Nationalist roads, Ridgeway

Private Bag, KL 10

Lusaka.

By PMRC Researchers – Emmanuel Mumba and Mabvuto Lungu

INTRODUCTION 

Over the period 2019 to 2021, inflation in Zambia has been higher than the 6-8 percent target range. Inflation averaged 9.1 percent in 2019, 15.6 percent in 2020 and rose further to an average of 22.1 percent in 2021. Inflation is a broad measure involving goods and services and not only consumer food. It measures the overall impact of price changes for a diversified set of products and services. Calculating the overall inflation rate for a country requires an index with broader coverage of items called basket. Depending on the country and its consumption habits of the majority of the population, the basket will have different goods. Some goods might record a drop-in prices and others may increase and the overall value of inflation will depend on the weight of each of the goods with respect to the whole basket.

 In 2019 and 2020, the increase in inflation was mainly attributed to the depreciation of the Kwacha against the trading currencies, and upward adjustments in energy prices (fuel pump prices and electricity tariffs). Upward pressures on food prices following the adverse impact of the 2018/19 drought and trade disruptions, that followed the lockdown measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, also contributed to rising inflation. The higher inflation outturn in 2021, was also associated with a sustained increase in food prices and the depreciation of the Kwacha until the second half of the year.  The inflation in Zambia is as a result of price changes on several goods and services. In a hypothetical example, using one of the most consumed items in the country (cooking oil) from the basket for illustration purposes for a period January to April. Suppose the initial price of cooking oil in January is K70 and over the next months, increases to K100, K125, and K135 in February, March and April respectively, the rates at which the price of cooking oil increased from January to April are K30, K25 and K10 respectively as shown below. 

K70 K100K125K135 or   when expressed in percentage change. The rate at which prices of cooking was increasing from one month to another at a decreasing rate is what is called inflation. Therefore, a reduction in the inflation rate does not mean a reduction in the prices of goods and services but the reduction in the rate at which prices are increasing.

EFFORTS TOWARDS REDUCTION IN INFLATION BY GOVERNMENT 

Government has been using a mixture of monetary and fiscal measures to control the rate of inflation towards its aspiration of an inflation rate of between 6-8 percent.  Some of the key measures that the Government has been using to control inflation are not limited to the following: 

The monetary policy being one of the major tools used by the central bank to control inflation has been instrumental during this period. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), at its November 22-23, 2021 Meeting, decided to raise the Monetary Policy Rate by 50 basis points to 9.0 percent. This was done in order to help steer inflation to single digits in 2022 and to within the 6-8 percent target range by mid-2023 as stated in the 2022 Budget Address. As anticipated, a sharp decline was experienced in the inflation rate and during the previous two MPC meetings (in February 2022 and May 2022) the MPC rate has been maintained at 9%.

In the 2022 national budget, the Government initiated a number of reforms to support the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors. These included among others, the removal of 5% customs duty on the importation of cattle breeding stock and suspension of 5% customs duty on grandparent and/or parent stock of day-old chicks. These actions and many others have drastically addressed the supply shocks and moderately improved the price movements in food items such as meat. Subsequently arresting food inflation from a whole year high of 31.6 % in August 2021 to 9.7% in June 2022.

The Kwacha has been stable for the past few months in trading against major currencies, which has contributed to a reduction in inflation. In the last three months, the Kwacha has sustainably been on a bullish trend appreciating averagely at 5.8% monthly against the US dollar. This performance has been anchored on enhanced fiscal consolidation measures, positive market sentiments emanating from the progress made on the IMF Extended Credit Facilities with its accompanied debt structuring programme and support from the Central Bank through its open market operations. Other factors that have buoyed up the Kwacha sprung from the encouraging dollar-quoted tax declarations from the mining sector. These factors have unwaveringly reduced the imports value basket for the imports-dependent local manufacturing sector, reducing production costs and thus, moderating consumer price levels. 

Government is urged to continue with its fiscal consolidation measures towards achieving a stable single-digit inflation rate which will positively impact the prices of goods and services in the long term. Lastly, in order for the gains of the single digital inflation to be realised and yield economic dividends through the reduction of the cost of living, there is need for continued stability of the exchange rate as well as stable fuel prices which are critical determinants for the cost of goods and services through its impact on the cost of production. 

By Chisengele Chibuta – PMRC Researcher

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years. The AfCFTA aims to boost Intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreements among the member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. The private sector will play a pivotal role in boosting intra-African trade through the AfCFTA. 

According to the Trade Law Centre, in Africa, the private sector accounts for 80% of total production, 66% of investment, 75% of credit and employs 90% of the working-age population. In addition, 90% of the firms within the African private sector are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This is also the case for Zambia where Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) employ the majority of the country’s workforce 

The private sector is the engine for innovation, investment, job creation, poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth for any economy. However, the sector’s participation in cross-border trade is often hindered by tariff and non-tariff barriers (including complex customs and trade procedures), high transportation costs and a lack of access to information. These are some of the issues that the AfCFTA will seek to address. It will progressively remove tariffs on 90 % of goods (with 10% of sensitive items to be phased in later) as well as resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships, both of which will make it easier for businesses to trade across the continent. The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness of local enterprises and promote industrial development. None of this will be possible, however, unless the legal instruments of the Agreement are fully implemented. These legal instruments represent an opportunity to establish strong governance structures as well as a stable and predictable business climate when trading or investing across borders. 

The AfCFTA will need to build on the work done by various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as it relates to private sector participation. For example, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat Directorates, with support from various committees, have established consultative mechanisms with the private sector on various topics, including infrastructure development, food security, customs and mining. Additionally, SADC has the Support to Industrialisation and the Productive Sectors (SIPS) programme, which is supported by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to facilitate the expansion of regional value chains and promote dialogue between the private and public sectors. Such mechanisms and programmes must be infused into the AfCFTA negotiations and implementation of the Agreement. SADC represents just one of at least 8 RECs found across the continent, all of which have approached private sector participation differently. The progress that has been made in these RECs in terms of private sector participation is the key building block for greater private sector participation in the AfCFTA.  

To further achieve success in the implementation of the AfCFTA, it will be important for the Zambian Government to actively engage the private sector at all levels because it is a key stakeholder in the Agreement. To date, there has been limited direct involvement of the private sector in the negotiations of the AfCFTA, which demonstrates the importance of such engagements. To this end, it is commendable that Zambia’s Minister of Commerce and Trade, Mr Chipoka Mulenga recently stated that the private sector will be briefed on the provisions of the agreement and engaged as the negotiations proceed. This will further need to include the likely impacts of the Agreement on the sector as a result of the increase in competition that will come with open borders. 

The AfCFTA will not achieve any success without the involvement of the private sector. It is therefore critical that they receive the necessary support in order for them to have a major developmental impact in Zambia and Africa at large.