ZAMBIA still remains a net importer of footwear and leather goods, and the country has become a dumping ground for all manner of footwear and other related goods from synthetic (non-leather) materials.
Copperbelt Leather Industry Cluster Limited (CLICL) coordinator Preston Viswamo said there was need for increased stakeholder participation in the implementation of the clustering and incubation initiative which has become a hindrance in the growth of the Zambia leather value chain strategy.
Mr Viswamo said in an interview that the slow implementation of the development of the footwear and leather goods Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) clusters and Incubation centres was retrogressive for the Zambia Leather Value Chain strategy.
“The leather sector has been rated as a priority sector in the
country’s development agenda and Zambia has leveraged resources through bilateral agreements with cooperative partners to support the clustering and incubation initiative, but the implementation process is very slow and it needs to be sped
up,” he said.
He said the population of Zambia required approximately 14 million pairs of shoes per annum and the current production output for the country remained at less than half a million (500,000) pairs per annum.
“The development of the footwear and leather goods SMEs clusters and incubation centres is the answer and most effective way to realizing the leather sector transformation,” he said.
The Leather Value Chain strategic objectives include transforming the leather sector into a robust sector that would generate value in Zambia’s economy through the development of 20 footwear and leather goods SMEs clusters across the country was launched in 2015.
He said although Government had leveraged resources through bilateral agreements with cooperating partners to support the clustering and incubation initiative, the implementation process was very slow and needed to be speeded up.
“Going forward, there is greater need for increased stakeholder
participation in the implementation of the Clustering and incubation initiative,” he said.
Mr Viswamo said the organisation was also soliciting for support for the leather clustering and incubation initiative for SMEs from stakeholders that could result into best practice for the leather value chain development strategy once supported.