By Nawa Mutumweno- Over $10 million has been spent on infrastructure development at the Sub-Sahara Gemstone Exchange Industrial Park which has been established in Ndola on the Zambian Copperbelt.
The industrial park is a multi-functional economic development zone tailored to accelerate economic growth through business activities and employment creation. It is expected to create about 30 000 jobs over the next five years.
According to its president Phesto Musonda, contractors are currently on site working on the road network while ZESCO and Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) are establishing a 33 kV and 21 MW of electricity respectively.
The park will house an oil refinery, lapidaries and gemstone processing and light engineering. Other industries will include construction and hardware, electrical appliance and copper processing plants. It will also have support facilities which will promote value addition to local raw materials.
“Support facilities will include skills training centre, procurement services, shopping mall, office parks, hotel and residential developments,” Mr Musonda elaborated.
Phoenix Materials Limited, a brick manufacturing firm, Mei Mei Limited and Electro Winning Resources Zambia Limited are the companies which are currently operating in the industrial park.
Local entrepreneurs should take advantage of the park and invest in projects that will enhance value addition and enable Zambian products to penetrate the lucrative USA market under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“AGOA has opened market opportunities for Zambia, but this will only be possible if local entrepreneurs add value to the local resources. The country has a lot of copper and gemstones that can be processed into products that can be exported to the USA,” he added.
However, it was imperative that affordable finance be availed if local entrepreneurs are to embark on profitable projects that will spur growth.