The Zambian iGuide, an electronic investment platform, has been launched with technical support from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The two sister organizations undertook the project jointly in line with the United Nations principle of “Delivering as One”.
The platform was officially unveiled by Ms. Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) also played a key role in the project.
The iGuide, delivered at the official request of the Zambian government, is expected to help increase investment activity in the country.
“The Government of Zambia remains committed to creating an enabling environment to attract the much-needed investment necessary to achieve our dream of becoming a prosperous middle-income nation,” noted Ms. Siame in reference to Zambia’s long-term development plan, Vision 2030.
Mr. Said Adejumobi, ECA’s Southern Africa Director, explained that the web-based tool will serve as a “one-stop information shop” providing investors with necessary and current information on business opportunities and regulation.
“The development of the investment guide will assist in building capacity of local institutions, directly dealing with investments issues such as ZDA,” said Mr. Adejumobi.
During the presentation of the platform, Mr. Emmanuel Chinyama of the ECA, highlighted the structure of the iGuide, which is composed of seven thematic chapters – getting started, labour, production factors, land, taxes, investor rights and growth sectors and opportunities.
It is complemented by an additional chapter containing essential country data. Each of the thematic chapters also features a section with feedback from investors on the ground.
Investors who need more details can also find on the platform contact details of the relevant ministries and agencies.
The ZDA has been in the driver’s seat of the implantation process and remains charged with the management of the platform.
“The iGuide is a useful investment promotion tool tallying with ZDA’s mandate to promote and facilitate foreign and domestic investment,” said Mr. Perry Mapani, Director General of the ZDA.
Ms. Milasoa Chérel-Robson, UNCTAD’s Acting regional head said the iGuide for Zambia was the latest in a series of electronic investment manuals that her organisation was helping work on, adding it is easy to access and manage.
Unlike the previously published paper-based investment guides, the iGuide is a living tool and the information it contains can be quickly updated whenever there is a change in policy or priorities.
Since the beginning of this year, the Republic of the Congo and Malawi have also launched their iGuides.
Efforts are also currently under way to launch the Nigerian one. To date, eleven countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, including Burundi, Kenya, Congo and Rwanda, have the electronic platforms for investors at their disposal.
The launch event was attended by government officials, private sector representatives and members of the diplomatic corps.