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Lusaka and Durban sign MoU: A model for intra-Africa trade?

Zambian and South African flags
Zambian and South African flags

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is the second largest provincial contributor to South Africa’s GDP after Gauteng and Zambia is its largest trading partner on the African continent. 

Exports from KZN to Zambia were valued at R2.47 billion last year representing 14.8% of KZN’s total exports into Africa. They included vehicles, earth‐moving equipment, paper and wood products, electrical and electronic goods, chemicals and agri‐processing produce. 

About 30% of all imports from the African continent to South Africa (not KwaZulu-Natal) were sourced from Zambia last year. Imports included copper and other base metals, cotton and textiles, tobacco and tobacco products, salt, sulphur, stone, plaster, lime and cement.

The Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and the Durban Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last month to encourage stronger commercial links between the two cities and their surrounding environs. The MoU seeks to pave the way for knowledge and skills transfers, as well as creating a platform for regular business delegation exchanges and the identification of joint projects designed to benefit both parties.

Confidence in the partnership was signalled in July last year with the launch of the SA Express Air route. Flights go four times a week between Durban’s King Shaka International Airport and Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.

With intra-Africa trade high on national and regional policymakers’ agendas, the proactive nature of this relationship, especially with both chambers of commerce getting involved, is positive. Other high growth economic nodes in Southern Africa and the rest of the continent could create similar partnerships for mutual prosperity and deeper commercial connectivity. I look forward to following the partnership’s progress going forward.


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