LUSAKA, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming first ever China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo is a chance to work towards ensuring that trade volumes between Zambia and China increase with more Zambians being encouraged to participate in export trade, a Zambian expert has said.
Oliver Saasa, a renowned Zambia economist said an export of this kind presents opportunities, and if properly structured, can bring about many economic benefits for Zambia that include increased number of Zambians participating in export trade.
According to him, Africa is rich in mineral resources but most of these are exported in their raw form with very little forward linkages in investments down stream.
"Essentially you will be looking at what is it that China can do by way of value addition. Speaking of copper for instance, instead of sending it in its raw form to China, we could invite Chinese firms that are into electronics and are using copper imports in processing to set up industries within Zambia," Saasa said.
With regard to investment in the agriculture sector, he said Zambia should be looking at ways of encouraging China to invest in Zambia's agriculture sector so that it can export to neighbouring countries and become the breadbasket of the southern Africa region.
"Zambia controls 35 percent of the water resources in southern Africa and literally anything grows in Zambia. This makes the country a good place for agricultural investment," Saasa explained.
He also pointed out that beyond investments in natural resources, Zambia needs to also look into ways of investing in the tourism sector so as to encourage more Chinese tourists as well as investors.
"At global level, China is leading in terms of both opportunities and tourist arrivals because of sheer numbers. This is an opportunity that Zambia can tap into and look at what sort of packages we should have to interest the Chinese market and tourists coming to Zambia and to Africa," Saasa said.