South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in conjunction with the Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry hosted a virtual trade and investment summit on the 9th and 10th July 2020 aimed at promoting trade and investment between the two countries. The theme for this year was “Developing Afrocentric solutions and forging partnership in response to COVID-19.

The seminar focused on trade and investment opportunities available in both Zambia and South Africa. It has also provided a platform to discuss strategic issues regarding Zambia’s investment plans to stimulate the country’s economic growth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The seminar included presentations and discussions from keynote speakers such as Zambia Mining Suppliers Association, SACEEC, Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, IDC South Africa, Development Bank of Zambia, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Bankers Association of Zambia and Zambia Development Agency amongst others.

These presentations, insights and discussions provided context behind the impact of COVID-19 on trade and investment in South Africa and Zambia, Mineral beneficiation to support the region’s development agenda, trade and investment opportunities in the copper and gold value chains, mobilising financial services to enhance trade and investment cooperation between South Africa and Zambia and lastly the trade and investment opportunities in Zambia, where opportunities in Mining and Manufacturing sectors were highlighted amongst other discussions. The session ended with a call for both countries to develop a bankable project in order to raise the much need capital in view of the demand for rescue funds for business that may face serious challenges in coping with the pandemic at both institutional and national level.

Various investment opportunities exist in the prioritised sectors including Agro-processing, Manufacturing, Energy, Tourism, Infrastructure and Mining – value addition. There are opportunities of establishment of industrial parks and multi facility economic zones in all the provinces. Other opportunities include secondary processing of minerals and electricity construction materials. Through Vision 2030, the Zambian government plans to increase manufacturing contribution to GDP to 18.30%. The manufacturing sector is at the heart of industrialisation and receives government support. There are non-fiscal incentives in Zambia that are provided on a need basis such as accelerated depreciation for capital expenditures, 0% duty rate on imported capital equipment & machinery. Zambian has indicated that even though the trade between the two countries remain resilient, it is heavily skewed in favour of South Africa. Both South Africa and Zambian participants collectively agreed that there is a need to look beyond regional trade and focus on the opportunities existing at a larger level.

Both countries indicated that there is a need to revise the focus in terms of planning and how we are going to roll out the investment plan through supplementary collaboration to strengthen the partnership between these two countries. A major outcome of the seminar is the call by both parties to establish a “Covid-19 Trade and Investment Task Team” whose role will be to spearhead and guide the implementation of the trade and investment aspirations of both countries in view of the resolutions derived from this seminar.