The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) held a media briefing at its boardroom to share the Agency’s performance during the first half of 2023. The Director General of ZDA, Mr. Albert Halwampa, addressed the media and highlighted the significant achievements and key trends in the country’s business environment.
Mr. Halwampa began the briefing by acknowledging the crucial role of the media as a valuable partner in disseminating information on investment, trade, and business development. He expressed gratitude to the media for their support in reaching diverse audiences with essential messages related to the ZDA’s activities.
A. Overview of the Business Environment in the First Half of 2023
1. Exchange Rate: The Zambian Kwacha demonstrated resilience and buoyancy against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar, with an average exchange rate of K17.40 to USD. The stable exchange rate regime boosted investor confidence, leading to increased interest in the country’s investment opportunities.
2. Inflation Rate: Inflation remained stable, averaging 9.9%. The predictable exchange rate movement contributed to high investor confidence, as incomes at both industrial and household levels remained realistic. This stability allowed various sectors of the economy to plan effectively.
3. Debt Restructuring: Zambia achieved a significant milestone by finalizing a $6.3 billion debt restructuring agreement with its creditors. This agreement paved the way for the disbursement of $188 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), marking a crucial step towards economic recovery and growth. The debt restructuring agreement further enhanced investor confidence, leading to expected increased investments and micro-economic stability.
B. Performance Overview
The ZDA continued its trade and investment agenda during the first half of the year through targeted missions and business development services. Mr. Halwampa highlighted the following achievements:
1. Investment Promotion and Business Facilitation:
– The Agency registered 173 investment ventures in the first half of 2023, with a total investment of US$14.5 billion, representing a remarkable increase of 1,015.4% compared to the same period in 2022.
– Energy, Construction, and Manufacturing were the main contributing sectors, with the highest investment recorded in the energy sector at US$9.1 billion.
– The 173 investment ventures created 15,525 jobs, marking a 35.8% increase from the previous year.
– The Agency exceeded its targets in both projected investments and projected jobs by 827.6% and 155%, respectively.
2. Actualised Investments:
– The ZDA monitored 128 investment ventures, which recorded an actualized investment of US$879.4 million and generated 13,680 jobs.
3. Export Promotion and Development:
– Zambia’s total exports reached US$6.06 billion, with Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) increasing by 14.37% from US$1.6 billion in 2022 to US$1.83 billion in 2023.
– The Agency facilitated market access for 220 exporters to potential buyers and provided trade information to 496 exporters.
4. Business Development Services:
– During the first half of 2023, 4,972 individuals accessed business information, surpassing the half-year target of 2,500.
C. Outlook for the Rest of the Year
Looking ahead, the ZDA plans to implement various initiatives to stimulate and attract investments into the country:
1. Online License Applications: The Agency launched an online application portal, enabling investors from around the world to apply for investment licenses and related permits remotely, in line with the government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business in Zambia.
2. Enhanced Investment Promotion: The ZDA will continue with investment promotion programs and missions, aiming to foster investments in sectors such as energy, packaging, special economic zones, and climate-smart investments.
3. Scaled Export Promotion and Development: The Agency will facilitate trade missions and participate in trade fairs to promote export growth in regional and continental markets.
4. Business Development Services: The ZDA will offer capacity building, product development, market linkages, and partnership facilitation to support businesses.
5. Decentralization: The Agency plans to open new offices in the Copperbelt and Northwestern Provinces to extend its reach and services.
Mr. Halwampa concluded the briefing by thanking the media for their attention and encouraged them to share this information with the public. He emphasized that the ZDA remains committed to holding quarterly media briefings to keep the nation informed of the Agency’s efforts in promoting trade and investment for the nation’s prosperity. He assured the media that the Communications and Public Relations office is always available to provide any required information or clarifications.
The Zambia Development Agency’s performance in the first half of 2023 reflects positive growth and high investor confidence, setting a promising path for the country’s economic development in the coming months.