Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The Common Agro-Industrial Park (CAIP) that Zimbabwe and Zambia intends to establish will create opportunities for the two countries to benefit within the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and employment creation and rural industrialisation among other benefits.
This was said by the Chief Director in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mrs Florence Makombe at the opening of an experts’ validation workshop of the draft policy, legal, regulatory and institutional framework and draft regional value chain assessment reports of the CAIP.
The establishment of the CAIP has been on the cards since 2019 and last year the two neighbouring countries signed a memorandum of understanding to set it up and the ongoing workshop is part of steps towards the implementation of the MoU.
The process is being done with the support of the United Nations Economic for Africa (UNECA), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“The proposed CAIP presents glorious opportunities for Zimbabwe and Zambia within the context of the unified AfCFTA. The benefits of cooperation include the achievement of economies of scale, rural industrialisation resulting in employment creation and better livelihoods for our people among others,” she said.
Mrs Makombe said creating and enhancing an enabling business environment was critical for agribusiness since it fostered international competitiveness and builds capacity to expand and access domestic and international markets.
Mr Sunday Chikoti, a Director in Zambia’s Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry the proposed creation of the CAIP was among several projects and initiatives the two countries have collaborated.
“This CAIP, which has received blessings from our leaders signifies a very important step in our industrialisation programmes between the two countries. The two countries are advocating for value addition and value chain in the whole process of industrialisation especially in the food sub-sector so we value this cooperation and we value the support we are getting from supporting partners,” he said.
Mr Chikoti said they would implement the project to the benefit of the two countries’ citizens capitalising on their comparative advantages.
Mr Joseph Mpunga an Investment Promotion Officer at COMESA’s Directorate of Industry and Agriculture said the CAIP had its complete backing and urged other development partners to come on board.