A clear roadmap for the establishment of the Common Agro Industrial Park (CAIP) between Zimbabwe and Zambia which is an engine for driving economic development and growth through value chain has been set up.
A series of sensitisation meetings to iron out issues have been organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Zambia is also in the process of holding similar workshops as part of the joint industrialisation cooperation program between the two countries.
In May 2021, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) held a validation meeting on the study on assessing the feasibility of establishing and managing the CAIP which is now at an advanced stage with the two countries and regional bodies working hard to make it a success story.
The agriculture sector is going to be the biggest beneficiary of the Industrial Park as it is the key to regional socio-economic development and present member states with opportunities to pursue agricultural development led industrialisation through the deepening of commodity value chains and the development of linkages.
Besides availing industrial goods and services for bilateral market for Zimbabwe, Zambia and beyond, the joint industrialisation cooperation also aims to develop intra-regional trade in manufactured products and to develop industrialists who would own and manage industries.
Under the programme, Zimbabwe and Zambia are set to collaborate more by setting up joint ventures, which utilise complementarities of national resources, value addition skills, technology and marketing capabilities.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries was signed in March 2021 and implementation of the Joint Industrial Programme is under the auspices of the Joint Technical Working Group (TWG) whose discussion led to the signing of the MoU. The development of a harmonised policy, legal regulatory and institutional framework for the common agro-industrial park is underway and is being financed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Zimbabwe`s Mashonaland West province was chosen for the pilot project while on the Zambian side, Lusaka province was identified for the same.
Economic analysts have urged the private sector to take advantage of the industrial cooperation agreement between the two countries to build linkages through value addition and the expansion of value chain.
The agriculture sector is key to regional socio-economic development and present member states with opportunities to pursue agricultural development led industrialisation through the deepening of commodity value chains and the development of linkages.