Zimbabwe and Zambia are set to establish an agro industrial park as the two countries endeavour to rebuild their economies from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A source privy to the details, told this publication that the establishment of the agro industrial park between Zimbabwe and Zambia was gaining momentum as the two countries had already put in place a clear road map for the successful implementation of the project.
“The two countries are serious about establishing an agro industrial park and they have already put in place a clear roadmap for the successful establishment and implementation of the project. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as well as Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, held a workshop some two months ago to brainstorm on how this project will be implemented for it to be a success,” said the source.
The source said that the project was now at implementation stage, with pre-feasibility studies having already been done. He added that the development of a harmonised policy, legal regulatory and institutional framework for the agro industrial park was already underway with financial assistance from UNECA having already been committed to the project.
According to the source, the establishment of the agro industrial park, under the auspices of the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG), would greatly assist entrepreneurs in the two countries to embark on value addition of agriculture produce which is currently being exported in raw form. The source added that the programme aims to increase the availability of industrial goods and services for bilateral markets for the two countries and to develop intra-regional trade in manufactured products.
The same source further said that the agro industrial park would also develop industrialists who would own and manage industries as well as strengthen collaboration between Zimbabwe and Zambia. He added that the two countries are set to collaborate more by setting up joint ventures which utilise the two countries’ national resources, value addition skills, and technology and marketing capabilities.
The Joint Industrialisation Cooperation Programme between Zimbabwe and Zambia is anchored on Article 99 of the COMESA treaty that encourages member states to cooperate in industrial development to achieve the broad objective of self-sustained and balanced growth and transformation.