Remarks by USAID Agricultural Development Officer Anafrida Bwenge at the Opportunities for Investment in a Fresh Produce Wholesale Market Meeting

Remarks by USAID Agricultural Development Officer Anafrida Bwenge
Opportunities for Investment in a Fresh Produce Wholesale Market Meeting
InterContinental Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia
Thursday, September 13, 2018

(as prepared for delivery)

The Honorable Minister of Finance, Margaret Mwanakatwe
Master of Ceremonies, Private Sector Representatives
Other distinguished guests, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen

It is a pleasure to join you today for this important meeting.  I bring you greetings from the United States Ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, and the USAID/Zambia Director, Patrick Diskin.

On behalf of USAID, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to each of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend today’s workshop.  The participation of both government and private sector players is critical because public-private partnerships are extremely important in unlocking the type of opportunities that are being presented here today.

Today’s program was developed in collaboration with our colleagues from the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, which partners with businesses, public organizations and associations, and financial institutions across Southern Africa, in order to deepen regional economic integration.

USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub also aims to attract investment to drive regional commercial expansion and promote trade with the United States in order to create jobs, increase income, and develop wealth that can enhance the prosperity of partner countries.

The United States continues to engage with democratic, progressive, and reform-oriented governments to establish and promote conditions that improve business environments, and Zambia is particularly exciting because of its vast economic and regional potential.

At USAID, we support Zambia in several trade facilitation and investment initiatives, including exploring the development of a centralized fresh-produce market for the country. Zambia has the potential to become a fresh-produce hub for Southern Africa, where Lusaka serves as a strategic nexus of a catchment area that can readily supply neighboring countries.

This, however can only occur if Zambia’s horticultural markets are more modernized and structured in such a way that they minimize post-harvest losses, increase pricing information availability to market participants, and allow for more infrastructure and trading efficiency in the market.

A modern fresh-produce market would also improve the quality and sanitary standards necessary to supply higher volumes to the wholesale, retail and hospitality industries, and it will significantly help to improve incomes for farmers, wholesalers and retailers, and benefit consumers both in Zambia and the region.

We are confident this meeting will generate the business and investment interest to explore these opportunities in-depth, and establish new commercial relationships that help lead toward the realization of this commercial goal. The participation of important officials and dignitaries here today is a positive reflection of the private and public support we believe is critical to holistically develop a viable and profitable fresh produce market.

We also firmly believe that today’s interactions, followed by the future engagements beyond this meeting, will highlight Zambia as a major investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa.

Again, on behalf of USAID/Zambia, I thank the Musika Development Agency, our colleagues at the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub, and the Indaba Policy Research Institute for coordinating this meeting. It is USAID’s expectation that today’s workshop and future discussions will unlock vital agriculture investment and business expansion that will help Zambia progress beyond assistance into a role of regional economic leadership.

Thank you.