*South Africa has developed at the expense of docile countries like Zambia*
By Bernard Mweseka, UPND U.K. Chapter chairman
Zambia this week hosted the Zambia-South Africa business forum which was graced by the presidents from the two nations.
I was among the delegates and what I learnt has left me astounded.
The trade imbalance between Zambia and South Africa is mind boggling.
The total value between the two nations currently stands at $2.8bn.
The shocking part is that this trade is grossly tilted in favour of South Africa which accounts for over $2.4bn.
This means Zambia has played a very big role in the economic development of South Africa by giving that country a market for almost anything and everything.
Zambia has been importing things from toothpicks to razor blades, bananas to chickens.
The MMD leadership that we had for 20 years should be ashamed for doing almost nothing to develop our manufacturing & value addition industries because that was the reason we continued importing from SA.
As we deliberated, it was clear that what we have lacked all these years we have traded with SA is leadership . The South African leaders took implemented deliberate policies that ensured that their foreign goods would not easily enter the South African markets. Currently the SA leaders have created barriers that have made it almost difficult for Zambian goods to enter that market, some of the barriers are:
• SA does not recognise our ZABS meaning all the Zambian products that are certified by ZABS cannot penetrate the SA market (this is a very selfish decision by SA)
• SA has got overly strict phytosanitary conditions that make it almost impossible for certain Zambian products to enter that that market.
These barriers have ensured that the SA manufacturing industry enjoys a good local as well as foreign markets. It’s so difficult for Zambian goods to enter SA while almost everything made in SA can enter Zambia without problems.
My question is why and how did our leaders allow this day light robbery to go on for years?
It is good that we are now talking about these matters but I believe our govt must do two things immediately :
1 demand that the SA recognises our ZABS (let them say what we have to do )
2 Zambian govt must serious work on policies and projects that will favour the Zambian SMEs & other businesses. We need to watch what we import from SA. Why should we import potatoes from SA?
More importantly the govt must promote value addition and rework on the empowerment schemes.