India, Zambia agree to promote trade, investment and capacity building in mining sector

India, Zambia agree to promote trade, investment and capacity building in mining sector “India is a major trade partner in promoting industrialization, farm mechanization, employment and poverty reduction in Zambia on a sustainable basis. Indian contribution to Zambia’s industrialization is evident from the recent growth in procurement of machinery and industrial materials by Zambia from India. It is encouraging to note that India is one of the major trade partners of Zambia as its bilateral trade has grown five fold in the last decade and India’s cumulative investment in this country has crossed USD 5 billion with significant investment in telecom, tourism, healthcare, mining and other sectors. I am happy to inform that the Ministry of Mines of both the countries have concluded their first joint working group meeting a few months ago and I expect closer cooperation in terms of trade, investment and capacity building in the mining sector,” said H.E. Mr. Ngulkham Jathom Gangte, High Commissioner of India to Zambia at a webinar on ‘Trade and Business Opportunities between India and Zambia’. The webinar was organised jointly by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and High Commission of India in Lusaka, Zambia.

Pointing to the Zambian government’s commitment to promote bilateral relations, H.E. Mr. Gangte remarked, “The high level exchange of political leadership between both the countries during 2018 and 2019 have opened new areas of collaboration in geology, mining, defence and other sectors. I am optimistic that Zambian government will maintain its steadfast and unwavering commitment to promote bilateral relationship. Zambia has a conducive business climate for Indian companies and the presence of a sizeable Indian diaspora in Zambia is a testimony to this. Zambia is blessed with huge mineral resources, arable land and it hosts 40% river water resource of the Southern African region.”

Lauding WTC Mumbai’s initiative to launch virtual exhibition for promoting bilateral trade, H.E. Mr. Gangte said, “The virtual exhibition platform has been introduced at an opportune time to connect micro, small and medium companies, start-up enterprises and women entrepreneurs of both the countries to explore fruitful trade opportunities. I hope this platform will facilitate small enterprises from both sides establish direct contacts, identify potential partners, improve ease of trading and contribute to economic upliftment of both the nations. Specifically, the exhibition will help Zambian exporters explore the 1.3 billion consumer market of India.”

The High Commissioner inaugurated the India-Zambia virtual exhibition organised by WTC Mumbai on its new age digital platform The online exhibition, which received overwhelming response from business community of both the countries, will be live during July 15, 2021 –October 15, 2021. The exhibition will promote bilateral trade by facilitating buyer-seller meeting and lead generation in sectors such as agro commodities, auto components, electrical and electronics, technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, metals, plastics, chemicals, textile and home décor.

In her video message, H.E. Mrs. Judith K.K. Kan’goma- Kapijimpanga, High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia to India remarked, “I appreciate WTC Mumbai for organising this landmark event that will help both sides explore new areas of trade in this challenging time. Despite the bilateral trade volume declining in the last year because of the pandemic, India has supported Zambia’s fight against COVID 19 by supplying anti-biotics and other medical goods. Zambia is a land-linked country, rather than a land-locked country as it is well connected by air, rail and road with its bordering countries. Indian companies can benefit from Zambia’s preferential market access to Southern African Development Community (SADC), COMESA, European Union and USA.”

Speaking about the sectoral opportunities for Indian companies in Zambia, H.E. Ms. Kapijimpanga remarked, “Indian companies can explore export opportunities in farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, farm machinery and agricultural finance. Besides agriculture, Indian enterprises can explore business in setting up of hydel power plants, power transmission lines, airports, roads, railway lines, residential and commercial buildings.”

Sharing information about tourism potential in Zambia, the High Commissioner mentioned, “Zambia has 20 national parks and the famous Victoria Falls, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. The country offers tax incentives for companies building tourism and allied infrastructure such as conference facilities, accommodation, theme parks, museums and art galleries. Although there is no direct flight between India and Zambia, Indians can visit Zambia from Qatar, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya.”

In his remarks, Mr. Mukula Makasa, Director General, Zambia Development Agency informed, “The recent diplomatic efforts of the Zambian government has opened multiple avenues for collaboration with India to strengthen commercial relations. Zambian Development Agency has also signed MoUs with several trade associations in India to promote exchange of trade and investment. In the days ahead, we hope to launch direct flight connectivity between Lusaka and New Delhi and Lusaka and Mumbai to facilitate the growing relations. In recent months, Zambia has been developing new international airports to promote bilateral engagement with other countries.”

Speaking about the sectoral opportunities for collaboration, Mr. Makasa highlighted, “With India, we have strong potential to develop partnership in renewable energy, especially solar power and hydroelectric power generation. Both the countries can also collaborate in agriculture and food processing sectors. Indian companies can also choose Zambia as gateway to Sub-saharan Africa by setting up manufacturing facilities in machinery, textile, plastics, rubber, chemicals and engineering sectors in this country.”

The event was also addressed by Mr. Chabuka Kawesha, President, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI)

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center, Mumbai pointed out, “Zambia can play an important role in enhancing India’s engagement with the African continent. At a time when the global supply chain is realigning, Zambia can promote South-South cooperation and enhance bilateral trade between Africa and India. Zambia, which is rich in natural resources such as metals, oil & gas, can encourage its entrepreneurs to set up processing plants in India for value addition of these raw materials. Similarly, Indian manufacturers who have been exporting machineries, textiles, pharmaceuticals and automobile components, can set up manufacturing plant in Zambia and generate employment opportunities in that country.”

Speaking about bilateral trade, Mr. Kalantri informed, “India’s annual trade volume with Zambia declined 64% from USD 1.1 billion in 2019-20 to USD 395 million in the following year because of the pandemic. At the same time, export of critical goods such as pharmaceuticals grew from India to Zambia amidst rising demand from the healthcare industry to fight COVID pandemic.”

Mr. Kalantri assured that WTC Mumbai will collaborate with Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) in promoting trade and investment through virtual exhibitions and other trade events. He said, “WTC Mumbai will institute a dedicated cell to promote commercial relations with Africa, especially Zambia and work closely with the High Commissions, Zambia Development Agencies and chambers of commerce to strengthen relations.”

Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, WTC Mumbai proposed vote of thanks for the event. Ms. Naik raised hope that in the next two weeks the number of exhibitors hosted by the virtual exhibition platform will rise from 60 to 100.

During the webinar, Dr. Shrikant Kamat, Counsel - Commercial Laws, Academics Administrator suggested Zambian exporters to avail of the benefit under Government of India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme (DFTP). Under this scheme, Zambian exporters can export more than 98% of products (under HS code tariff lines) at concessional customs duty and 85% of the products under nil customs duty.” Dr. Kamat further informed that the rules of origin norms are more liberal under the DFTP scheme as Zambian exports with at least 30% local value addition are eligible for duty benefits as against the norm of at least 50% local value addition under normal free trade agreements.”

He concluded his remarks by highlighting the list of products and activities that are excluded under the DFTP scheme and explaining the pre-shipment and quality certification norms to be complied with by exporters.