By BRIAN HATYOKA –
THERE is need for landlocked countries to reinvigorate the drive to develop appropriate infrastructure to make them land linked, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) President Geoffrey Sakulanda has said.
Mr Sakulanda said the Zambian Government and other Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) must develop better roads and the railway network which would them link to the sea to ease the cost of doing business.
He said improving infrastructure such as airports, airlines, railway line and roads would make the movement of goods cheaper and facilitate trade for landlocked countries.
Mr Sakulanda was speaking in an interview in Livingstone where he attended a three-day high-level ministerial meeting focusing on the special development challenges faced by the world’s 32 LLDCs.
The meeting is a follow-up to the 2014 Second United Nations Conference on LLDCs that was held in Vienna, Austria, where UN member states adopted the ambitious Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for the LLDCs for the decade 2014 – 2024.
“We should have better roads which can go from the port of Dar-salaam in Tanzania to Namibia as well as from Cape Town in South Africa to Egypt to Cairo,” Mr Sakulanda said.
He noted that it takes about two hours in Europe for one to be in another country because of better infrastructure such as railway network, roads, sea and air transport.
“By hosting the LLDC conference in Livingstone, Zambia now really appreciates why we keep on saying Zambia is a high cost country.
“It is only hoped that this gathering has addressed the challenges which make it very expensive and difficult to do business in a landlocked country,” he said.
Mr Sakulanda also said there was need for LLDCs to simplify taxes and regulations at borders to ease the cost of doing business.
Mr Sakulanda said being landlocked was somehow a disadvantage as more costs were added to the businesses.
“The primary challenge is the cost of transportation from the port since Zambia has no access to the sea.
“Zambia is an import oriented country as almost all that we consume here is imported so again there is an aspect of duty after you have paid all other costs of importing,” he said.
Mr Sakulanda said the transport system in Zambia was very expensive because of high cost of fuel and high maintenance costs.
“You will find that the goods you will produce in Zambia will be more expensive than the goods being manufactured in Mozambique, South Africa or Tanzania which have access to the sea.