CENTRAL Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Chomba says the region has received over US $2 billion investment pledges following the successful hosting of the Investment Forum and Expo in 2018.
Mr Chomba said over US $168 million has been disbursed by investors in various sectors such as mining, energy, agriculture and agro processing as well as manufacturing and MFEZ Development.
Speaking when he opened a virtual Expo Review Meeting on Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary said Central Province still remained with huge potential for investment.
The Expo Review Meeting drew district planning officers from all the region’s 12 districts who presented their reports on the flow of investment in their respective districts after the 2018 Expo.
Mr Chomba however, noted that while some districts had witnessed overwhelming response from investors, others especially the newest such as Ngabwe, Chitambo and Shibuyunji were still struggling to attract investors.
“We have continued to explore various measures aimed at attracting equal investment to all the districts in the Province.
“Apart from aggressive marketing of the Province’s investment potential, the Provincial Administration is currently identifying high impact investment projects in various districts that should be marketed as a product to potential investors,” he said.
He also revealed that the Provincial Administration had signed a memorandum of understanding with Lloyd Financials aimed at mobilizing financial resources to finance high impact public projects under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
This is slightly different from the main focus of our 2018 Expo which largely hinged on the potential of the province in general.
Mr Chomba however, expressed that some district planning officers were failing to capture critical information about investment and its benefits to the people in the region in their districts.
Meanwhile, assistant investment coordinator Sylvester Mwale said the provincial administration was exploring ways of marketing specific projects to potential investors unlike just advertising the province in general.
Mr Mwale noted that identifying and developing specific projects in districts would help to attain equal flow of investment unlike now when investors concentrated on their preferred districts.
According to the reports presented by district officials, Chibombo has the largest investment pledge, with the construction of the Industrial Park at US $600 million by Jiangxi United Industrial Investment Limited accounting for most of it.
Mumbwa district has US $231 million investment pledges since 2018 largely in tourism and solar energy while Chisamba and Itezhi-tezhi have US $130 million and US $24 million respectively.