By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE supply chain linkages concept remains critical for Zambia’s effective diversification and economic boom.
Backward and forward linkages will not trickle to the rest of the economy unless Zambia ensures that more investments is obtained in the manufacturing and other sectors of the economy in times of an economic boom.
This is according to the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) Policy Analyst, Zondwayo Duma.
Mr Duma said Zambia’s economy would be denied the benefits of growth from backward and forward linkages mainly driven by the mining industry, leading to a failure to meet national aspirations of economic diversification.
He stressed in an interview that the most successful countries built linkages between their natural resources and the manufacturing sector.
“Natural resources have clearly been an important aspect of economic development for some developed countries in global history.
“For instance, between 1870 and 1914, a period often referred to as the Golden Age of natural resource led development, economic growth recorded in the time was led by natural resource-endowed economies,” he said.
Mr Duma said the absence of backward and forward links of the resource extraction industry with the rest of the economy could be stated to be the reason for Zambia’s slowed development.
He said Zambia would not overcome poverty until it developed industrial sectors and transforms out of the dependency on natural resource extraction for foreign reserves, into ensuring the country could produce manufactured wares.
Mr Duma emphasised the need to pay particular attention to industry to understand why some countries managed to industrialise and yet countries such as Zambia had not.
“To put it into context, world history has repeatedly shown that the single most important thing that distinguishes rich countries and poor ones is their capabilities in manufacturing, where production is generally higher and tends to grow faster than agriculture,” he said.