Yohane Mbeeya Moono
The recent visit to Zambia by the Rwandese President Paul Kagame has seen the Air Rwanda Airline increase its weekly flights to Lusaka to three times a week. Additionally, Zambia secured Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain with the Democratic Republic of Congo following the recent visit too by the Congolese President Felix Antoine Tchilombo Tshisekedi.
The two Presidential Visits have seen Zambia begin to position herself as a major regional player in trade and investment that is seemingly going to benefit the People of the African continent.
Apart from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Zambia being a landlocked and landlinked country, her economic activities with her neighbouring countries are going to crucial in turning the country into the Regional Hub for Economic Activities. Angola has Oil and imports Chickens from Brazil, Botswana has Diamonds and Livestock and depends on Zambia for Livestock feed, Zimbabwe has economic challenges and Zambia can play the role of the brother’s keeper during the period o economic challenges in Zimbabwe. Mozambique has the battle of fighting insurgency in the North of the country and Zambia can be a major food supplier to that Country. Namibia has Oil and the corridor for which Zambia can use to export some Mineral and Agricultural Products to the West. South Africa has long been a major trade partner that will continue to be. Malawi is also a major trade partner in Agriculture. So Zambia needs to secure all these countries in one economic activity or the other for the benefit of Zambians and Africans at large. Zambia should begin afresh with Tanzania
Zambia needs to secure more Bilateral Ties with Tanzania. Zambia and Tanzania share a long standing friendly history dating back to the days of Struggle for Independence for Both countries. They are informally major trade partners and too formally trade partners. In the 1970s, Tanzania and Zambia jointly engaged China in the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railways popularly known as TAZARA. The TAZARA railway runs from Kapiri Mposhi in Central Zambia through to the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. This is a major trade route for Zambian mineral products destined for the Far East. Furthermore, Zambia used to receive Crude Oil through the Port of Dar es Salaam. This led to the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Mafuta also in the 1970s following the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the then Government of Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia in 1971.
The Nakonde-Tunduma Border Post in Muchinga Province acts as the Gateway to East Africa. The East African Community has population of over 350 million people which could provide a good market for some of the Zambian produced Agricultural Products. The informal trade between the countries is exmplefied by the Daily Economic Activities that take place at the aforementioned border.
Furthermore, looking at the Tanzanian economy, the Gross Domestic Product in December of 2021 stood at 55 Billion Dollars with economic projections stating that it likely to reach 62 Billion Dollars in 2022. This is a representation of about 7% growth in 2022 economic projections. While Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product in December of 2021 stood at 24 Billion Dollars with economic projections stating that it will likely reach 27 Billion Dollars. This is a representation of about 3% growth in 2022 economic projections.
If Zambia wants to improve her economic growth and surpass the economic projections, Zambia needs to secure Bilateral Ties with Tanzania. The economic outlook of Tanzania whose economy is largely a Private Sector Driven economy means that Zambia which is aiming to be a Private Sector Driven economy has a lot to learn from the Neighbouring Country. Tourism, mining and Agriculture are the major economic drivers of the Tanzanian economy and Zambia too can use the Tanzanian economic model to catapult her economic growth beyond the projected 3% for 2022.
The two countries need to increase economic activities between them and stop criminalizing economic activities. They have a combined population of 77.5 million people which could help to catapult the economic growth of both countries.
It is incumbent upon Zambia to play Her Economic Diplomacy very well and Secure more Bilateral Ties with Tanzania which has one of East Africa’s Best Performing Economies amidst the World Economic Challenges. Securing Economic Ties with the Neighbours would help the Zambian Economy fend off some external economic shocks brought about by events in the West and Far East.
Zambia needs to secure more Bilateral Ties with Tanzania to continue her quest of being the Regional Hub for Economic Activities.