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Zambia and South Africa to hold bilateral trade talks


Zambia and South Africa to hold bilateral trade talks

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Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

Zambia and South Africa will today hold a virtual meeting to promote bilateral trade and investment between the two states.

The meeting will reportedly mobilise 130 South African firms in an attempt to integrate cross-national public and private sectors. The agenda is expected to focus on an overarching Afrocentric recovery strategy in the wake of COVID-19, with an emphasis on the agriculture, energy, mining, transport and financial services sectors.

Lusaka had struggled with rising public debt prior to the pandemic and is projected to suffer its first GDP contraction in more than two decades. Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, has been hit hard by depressed industrial activity, supply chain disruptions and the associated shock in global demand for raw materials.

The bilateral meeting could provide much needed inflows to Zambia’s agriculture industry as economic stagnation has amplified investor concerns surrounding land tenure security, or government protection against forcible evictions. The recent 12% slump in copper prices, a correlated currency depreciation and rising trepidation over the dwindling supplies of key mining sites have boosted the rationale for economic diversification. Expect a lack of progress at today’s meeting to boost the likelihood of a Zambian sovereign default, echoing Argentina’s.

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