Zambian officials trained to better negotiate trade deals with other countries

07 June 2024
A workshop held in Lusaka training Zambia

A workshop held in Lusaka last month trained Zambian officials to better analyse and negotiate trade agreements with other countries.

Organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the German development agency GIZ, the workshop was attended by more than 50 participants from Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, private sector and civil society.

The workshop aimed to upskill participants in policy analysis, negotiation techniques and trade diplomacy, ultimately helping them make informed decisions that stimulate economic growth.

Lillian Saili Bwalya, Permanent Secretary of Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, opened the workshop by highlighting the government’s efforts to reduce import barriers. She expressed hope that the skills gained would help Zambian trade officials unlock access to new preferential markets.

In a statement, Eunice G. Kamwendo, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission’s Southern Africa sub-regional office, underlined the ambitious goals of trade agreements in Africa, including social development, gender equality and industrial growth.

She stressed that these goals could be realised if trade agreements were to be implemented effectively.

In their remarks, representatives from GIZ and the Commonwealth Secretariat reiterated their commitment to strengthening Zambia’s trade capacity.

Guiseppe Scuto, Head of Programme Support at GIZ, underscored the importance of helping Zambia position itself in the market through enhanced trade capabilities.

Building on his words, Lawrence Othieno, Trade Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat said:

"Trade is a driving force of economic prosperity, lifting millions out of poverty. With the rise of bilateral and regional trade agreements, countries need highly skilled trade officials to represent their needs and interests.

“We hope this workshop will prepare Zambian officials to negotiate and implement trade agreements in a way that fosters economic prosperity for all Zambians.”

Workshop highlights

The workshop was facilitated by experts from leading trade organisations, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the World Bank.

The five-day programme covered a range of issues, such as Zambia’s national trade policy, regional trends, the role of data in developing a trade policy, regional value chains and non-tariff measures.

Following the workshop, participants expressed appreciation for the knowledge and skills gained.

One participant, Musenga Sanwa praised the workshop, saying:

“I enjoyed gaining an understanding of the basic theory of international trade, understanding our country’s position in regional and global trade, challenges as well as opportunities to enhance economic transformation and growth.”

Ralph Likando Vwaali, another participant, described the workshop as an enriching experience and expressed eagerness to apply the acquired knowledge in his daily work.


In his closing remarks, Dr Simon Ngona, Director of External Trade at Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, said the workshop was much needed to equip the newly recruited trade officials with the skills and knowledge they need to represent national interests in international trade agreements.

The workshop was held in Lusaka from 27 to 31 May 2024 in response to a request from the Government of Zambia.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi, Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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