Finding opportunities and offering expertise as South Africans through partnerships form part of the essence of the Trade and Investment Mission that is currently taking place in Zambia. This was said by the Chief Executive Officer of Rail and Roads Association of Southern Africa, Ms Mesela Nhlapo. She was speaking during a site visit to Zambia Railways in Kabwe.

According to Nhlapo forming joint ventures and partnerships with the locals is the only way to do business in Africa and that can develop the economy.

We are in Zambia with a team that has a vision to partner and work with the locals. We will come back and follow up on these meetings. We will not be relying on the Zambians to fund the projects, but we want to provide a complete project package including funding. It is no longer about selling goods and services, it is about the partnerships. It is important to note that for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to work, we need to start on a regional level and for us this is the first step, said Nhlapo.

She noted that the intra-Africa trade was significantly low compared to other regions in the world.

A lot of imports in Africa are from the East, Europe and the United States, in most cases we do not have to import from that far. As Africa industrialises we can reduce these imports and create jobs, said Nhlapo.

She also said that Africa could not continue to have huge government projects that did not benefit Africans.

Reducing the red tape must definitely be addressed to make sure we create opportunities between the two countries, identify what Zambia can offer South Africa and make concerted efforts to make sure the products that reach South Africa will in a long run contribute to a more balanced trade, said Nhlapo.

She said that the Zambians had a rich history and vast experience in the mining and rails industries.

We need to grow together and share skills and experiences. Significant partnership with the private sector remain the core of the success of the plans of government, as the private sector we remain the implementers of these plans, said Nhlapo.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Zambia Railways, Mr Christopher Musonga welcomed the delegation and said the trade between the two countries needed to be increased and balanced and that can only happen when there are partnerships. He added that the private sector’s role could not be ignored in growing trade between the two countries.

We welcome the South African businesspeople to invest in the $922 million investment opportunities in the Zambia Railways, said Musonga.

The mission will proceed to the Copperbelt where the delegation will interact more with their counterparts and conduct site visits.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry