The 2013 Economic Report on Africa released on Monday says Zambia could improve its copper-dominated economy which would be ploughed into growing other industries.
According to the report, sectors likely to benefit from the reforms include agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism, industrial minerals and precious stones.
The report co-authored by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU) was launched Monday in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, where African Finance and Economic Ministers are meeting.
Copper has been the mainstay of Zambia’s economy since the 1930s, contributing around 10 per cent to the gross domestic product and 80 per cent of export earnings, notes the report.
It, however, says these gains have not been matched by increases in employment, mainly due to capital-intensive technologies used in the mines.
“Challenges in the areas of logistics, financing, tax and education have for long crippled manufacturing,” according to the report whose theme is, “Making the Most of Africa’s Commodities: Industrializing for Growth, Jobs and Economic Transformation.”
The report urges African countries to disregard calls for them to abandon commodity-based industrialization, pointing out that some European and South American nations had in the past used the model to successfully grow their economy.
Meanwhile, South Africa, the hub of mining equipment industry in Africa, has been urged to urgently set up a Fund to strengthen its edge in mining equipment sector.
The 2013 Economic Report on Africa said the fund would signal the government’s resolve to help the sector retain its global relevance through the creation of new products and lateral expansion into new territories.
“South Africa is a net exporter of mining equipment, with particularly strong interest coming from Latin America. The industry is growing at an annual 20 per cent and has a global competitive advantage in four areas, namely safety, ventilation shaft sinking and tracked mining,” the report notes.
It, however, warns that although the mining industry has a big impact on South Africa’s economy and the money generated in mining circulates throughout the rest of the economy, its competitive edge is waning.
The 2013 report advocates a massive industrialization of the continent through leveraging on its resources endowments.