Major boost for industrialisation

BY harnessing its abundant natural resources and through collaborative partnerships between governments, Africa can wean itself from depending on foreign countries and accelerate its industrialisation and modernisation through value addition and beneficiation, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) president and Board Chairperson, Professor Benedict Oramah, has said.

Already, Zimbabwe is on that path as it moves towards Vision 2030, by looking inwardly for its development, modernisation and industrialisation, with the setting up of industrial parks with the US$13 billion Mapinga Industrial Park being one of several examples.

The park, among other facilities, houses a mine-to-energy industrial section which will see the development of a local lithium-ion battery value chain, that will potentially make the country one of the producers of lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles.

In an interview after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa, who has been attending the Inter-Africa Trade Fair here, Prof Oramah said the future of Zimbabwe through policies and projects that are being implemented by the Second Republic is bright.

“As Afreximbank, we are helping to support industrialisation including lithium, the battery minerals that we want to see how we can begin to beneficiate more. We also discussed the export agriculture initiative for food security in Africa. We welcome trade between the Egyptian government, Malawi and Zimbabwe who are using collaborative approaches to improve food production and inter-regional trade in wheat, soya bean, maize, rice and meat so that we are no longer over-dependent on others for these products,” he said.

President Mnangagwa along with his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera yesterday attended the official opening of Inter Africa Trade Fair, which is part of the African agenda and coincides with the finalisation of the continent’s development plan until 2063.

“These Heads of State decided that it was time for us to take the future into our own hands, use our abundant water resources, abundant arable land and put them to good use and stop dependence on other markets for the supply of these critical needs of our people, we expect that this will enable us not only to feed ourselves but to also create wealth in Africa,” Prof Oramah said.

He said while in the past Africa’s future was decided in foreign countries, the continent’s leadership has decided it is time to chart its own destiny.

“We just signed the framework today, so we have started. Very soon all the necessary studies that are intended to be done will be done and what we have outlined, setting up agro-processing industries and industrial parks will commence. We have moved from talking to acting, so l expect that in a very short time, we will see the results. So we are no longer talking about it, we are doing,” Prof Oramah said.

In Zimbabwe, Afreximbank is constructing a US$80 million Africa Trade Centre and Regional Offices, which will make Harare an intra-African trade hub and support the city’s rejuvenation as an important centre for financial services.

Boasting features such as a major conference centre, a trade information centre, world class hotel and a tech incubation lab, the centre is billed to accommodate regional, global and development institutions that will also make it an attractive project to investors.

Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat, held the IATF 2023 at the Egypt Exhibition and Convention Centre under the theme, “Connecting African Markets”.

According to the African Development Bank Group (AFDB), US$43 billion worth of trade and investment deals are expected to close at IATF 2023.


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