Thursday, 9 June 2011


President Rupiah Banda
His Excellency, President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, opened the 10th Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) ministerial forum at an official ceremony in Lusaka today. In his address the President called for greater concerted efforts to diversify American imports away from Africa’s raw materials and to engage in activities that facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills.
President Banda highlighted the fact more than 90 per cent of American imports under the AGOA framework are related to energy such as oil, but there remains a huge opportunity for more agricultural crops, including processed goods, to make their way onto American supermarket shelves.
Since its inception, AGOA has created many jobs in sub-Saharan Africa. President Banda stressed that the challenge now is to provide education and training to enable people to better add value to the raw materials grown in these countries. He explained that having a better skilled workforce is key to enabling Africa to attract investment from developed nations - with sectors such as agri-processing, livestock and horticulture having high potential for further development.
He said: “It is my hope that we are going to have candid and frank deliberations around the key elements as highlighted in this year’s theme, namely value-addition, competitiveness and deepening regional integration.”
President Banda has worked tirelessly to improve the socio-economic climate in Zambia and the region as a whole. Entrepreneurialism and the transfer of skills has been at the core of his government’s policies, with the ultimate goal being for Zambia’s continued economic growth to yield jobs and prosperity for all Zambians.
He said this year’s forum would also recognize the special contribution of women entrepreneurs across the continent through the AGOA African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) and he applauded special guest Secretary Clinton for her wider efforts to assist women in Africa.

No comments:

Post a Comment