Zambia “take Aid for Trade Initiatives seriously”

There is need to seriously take some of the Aid for Trade initiatives that Zambia accredits to, especially those that aim at bringing a positive dimension in the way the country trades.

CUTS-International Acting Centre Coordinator Mr Patrick Chengo has observed with dismay on how the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) in Zambia is dying out after the organisation’s efforts to bring the issues to the fore of both government and the public sector.

“It is saddening to learn about the non-existent of the National Implementation Unit (NIU) in the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry. 2009 was a good and positive year for the EIF in Zambia, as CUTS and the then existing NIU personnel had a vigorous capacity building campaign through a CUTS project dabbed ”EIF for Poverty Reduction funded by the Finnish Embassy. Nevertheless, CSOs will always be there to compliment on government positive efforts but there will always be a limit, Says Mr Chengo.

The main objective of the unit is to implement the EIF programme in order to further integrate into the global trading system. Mr Chengo adds the through the work of the NIU, CUTS-International expects Zambia to increase donor support for its trade development agenda and formulation of a National Trade and Export Development Strategy which will ultimately result in securing more funds for financing pro-poor activities and growth strategy targeting the areas identified as conducive to poverty reduction. Therefore realising its non operational, Zambia stands to loose out.

“Currently, more funds are being contributed to the EIF Trust Fund and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 3 February 2010, through its Saudi Fund for Development, contributed USD 3 million which totalled to just over USD 90 million of the overall funds. This should be an eye opener for Zambia.

Zambia needs to improve its trading capacity and ultimately integrate into the global trading system. Trade is a key factor for economic growth, and can help to alleviate poverty. While trade is not an end in itself, it can enhance a country’s access to a wider range of goods and services, technologies and knowledge. It stimulates the entrepreneurial activities of the private sector. It creates jobs. It fosters vital learning processes. It attracts private capital. It increases foreign exchange earnings. Above all, it generates the resources for sustainable development and reduction in poverty levels.

And CUTS- Board Chair Ambassador Love Mtesa says Trade can be very useful tool in poverty reduction hence the important need for government to ensure institutional structures are in place in order to reap benefits from available aid.

“However, realising the many supply side constraints the country faces, CUTS recognises that the EIF will not be the glory for Zambia but its better to appreciate the positive gains it might foster. Therefore, there is need for the NIU to be operational and utilise all the opportunities that the EIF holds,” says Ambassador Love Mtesa.

Ambassador Love Mtesa further appeals to the Zambian government through the Ministry of commerce Trade and Industry to help ensure that the NIU is strengthened and in full operation with out any delays so that Zambia could quickly access different kinds of support from the EIF and Aid for Trade.