AN Information Communication Technology (ICT) and energy special initiative aimed at promoting innovative solutions from local entrepreneurs in the energy sector will soon be launched, says Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) director general Likando Mukumbuta.

Speaking when making submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Mr Mukumbuta said CEEC believed that the initiative would enable local entrepreneurs to come up with innovative strategies which could grow their businesses.

“Critically for our times, we will be launching an ICT energy special initiative where we shall be inviting applications in this area.  “We are hoping that we are going to see innovative solutions from our citizens in solar, we are hoping that we can go into manufacturing solar,” he said.

He said local entrepreneurs had a chance to create a modern Zambia whose value chain was dominated by the locals.

“We believe this is the way forward for our country, these industries at district level are going to be the future for a modern Zambia,” he said.

Mr Mukumbuta said Zambia had a credible economic empowerment programme that could achieve inclusive economic diversification. He said the country’s heavy infrastructure must be sustained at a reasonably high level as it would allow the expansion of Zambia’s economy.

Mr Mukumbuta said the poverty in Zambia was ‘‘largely due to low levels and absolute absence’’ of industrialisation in many sectors of the economy.

“In most cases, the little industrialisation that is seen is often linked to foreign direct investment that sometimes opens the door to unfavourable practices,” he said.

Mr Mukumbuta said there was need to address the gap in industrialisation and infrastructure in order to achieve transformational reversals in poverty. He however said industrialisation, though a critical requirement for substantial economic advancement, was not sufficient if indigenous Zambians were not an integral part of it.

He said 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses and industries must be done away with as was the case in many emerging economies.

“One hundred percent foreign ownership of business and industry must be done way with as is the case in many developing and emerging economies,” he said.

Mr Mukumbuta said public emphasis must be on promoting domestic investment and joint ventures for which the determinants were more the country’s control.

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