By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) will avail training on quality standards, labelling and packaging to ensure that local goods meet the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) standards.
Export ready manufacturers need to ensure that their products are top notch to be able to compete in the region, says ZAM Chief Executive Officer, Florence Muleya.
Ms Muleya said it was for this reason that ZAM would avail training on quality standards, labelling and packaging to ensure that local goods meet the AfCFTA standards.
She said the training would be conducted in collaboration with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and Zambia Metrology Agency (ZMA).
Zambia submitted its ratification instruments of the AfCFTA Agreement to the African Union Commission on February 6, this year.
“Market linkages and opportunities, as well as the realisation of investments will be key determinants to utilising the opportunities.
“Thus, ZAM will work with the Zambia Development Agency to ensure export promotion campaigns, exhibitions and investment profiles are created to link manufacturers with specific export markets in AfCFTA member states,” Ms Muleya said in an April Newsletter.
ZAM, she explained, was currently championing policies in favour of manufacturing,
Ms Muleya explained that ZAM believed that its manufacturers were well and able to overcome the many challenges that may lie ahead of AfCFTA.
She indicated that AfCFTA provided a larger market for Zambia, saying local manufacturers could export their Zambian made products to a larger market, outside the existing African export destinations.
“Currently, Southern African Development Community (SADC) is Zambia’s largest intra-African export destination, but the AfCFTA will open access for Zambian products to all corners of Africa.
“Zambian produced goods will now be able to compete favourably in Africa because of the removal of customs duties and other barriers to trade,” Ms Muleya said.
“ZAM will work with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to protect infant and emerging industries through advocating for a policy environment that allows for reduced production costs and some level of protection to remain solid for the thriving of yet to be competitive manufacturers.
“While undertaking all this, ZAM will not relent in ensuring that capacity is built in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to make them export ready and utilise the opportunities, because most manufacturers in Zambia are in this category,” she said.