Zambia, through the World Bank, is reviewing its DTIS of 2005 to include both old and contemporary trade related needs.
Among the factors which have lead to the review of the DTIS included the realization that the 2005 DTIS vintage was obsolete hence the need to revise the document and align it to the current trade related priority needs. Contributing to the discourse on the need to revise the DTIS, CUTS in 2009 conducted a fact based assessment of the DTIS which become an advocacy tool for CUTS to lobby its revision.
One of the key findings in the CUTS assessment of the 2005 DTIS and action matrix was the significant gap between its content and the priority needs of many stakeholders, especially marginalized groups in rural provinces, small scale cross boarder traders etc who are facing several developmental challenges but have a huge potential in shaping Zambia trading system.
Another key finding was on the services sector. CUTS found out that tourism was the only services sector highlighted in the documents and other key services sectors such as the financial sector etc were left out. Similarly, seasonal potential cash crops such as rice were left out.
In light of the new draft chapters which are undergoing discussion by the different stake holders, it is clear that the scope and coverage of most of these sectors have been enhanced and fosters a better departing point for Zambia in properly defining her trade agenda.
What is important therefore is for the validation exercise to be participatory and inclusive and the onus remains on the demand side of the table (i.e. stakeholders) to keenly and effectively participate and contribute positively.
In view of the extent to which the review exercise has progressed, it is also important for the ministry of trade to ensure that the product (i.e. DTIS) findings find themselves in the Revised SNDP. Possibility of this happening is very low owing to the political economy surrounding ministry of trade and Finance. The latter doesn’t seem to regard the importance of trade in national development even when much of the resources it presides over are generated through trade in one way or another.
The need for the ministry of trade to relentlessly start courting the Ministry of Finance on the key general and obvious findings in the new DTIS and ensure that these are embedded in the development framework (SNDP) is ripe.