ZAMBIA is the biggest importer in COMESA after she posted the biggest market share of 25 percent in 2013 and is likely to record a much higher figure this year, says business council chief executive officer Sandra Uwera.
Ms Uwera attributed the increase in the market share to a large number of products that Zambia imports.
She said Zambia was followed by DR Congo, Libya, Kenya and Uganda with intra-COMESA import market shares of 18.2 percent, 12.7 percent, 6.5 percent and 6.4 percent respectively.
“The level of intra-trade growth in COMESA region over the past two years clearly indicates that the private sector has begun to take advantage of the opportunities before them and grow the region to new heights,” she said.
She also said the services industry had shown notable growth over the last 20 years and accounts for 70 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ms Uwera said the role of services and its significance was largely accelerating beyond the traditional contributors – manufacturing, agriculture and mining.
“In the COMESA region services contribute to an average of 50 percent of GDP of COMESA member states with the contribution being even higher for countries like Mauritius, Kenya, Seychelles and Egypt.
‘‘One of the key industries that drives the services sector in the region is tourism,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Uwera said the COMESA region achieved an average growth rate of 6.6 percent in 2013, up from 5.5 percent in 2012 and underscores again the region’s resilience to global and regional headwinds.
She said Zambia was among the countries that contributed to the regional growth together with Madagascar, Congo DR, Burundi and the Comoros.
She explained that COMESA’s trade with the rest of the world currently stands at US$283 billion in 2013 with total exports at US$113 billion in 2013 while imports were US$170 billion in the same year.
“Regarding intra-COMESA trade in 2013, total trade grew by over 8 per cent compared to 2012, from levels of US$19.3 billion to US$20.9 billion.
“Contributing to this regional growth were Swaziland, Madagascar, Congo DR, Zambia, Burundi and the Comoros,” she said.