LUSAKA, May 8 - European Commission head of delegation Henry Sprietsma has said the enlargement of the European Union (EU) to 25 members will lead to an increase in donor aid to developing countries.
Ambassador Sprietsma noted during a tour of EU-assisted companies yesterday that the 10 new member states would be obliged to contribute to the European development fund based on their economic strength.
"The new members that had not been part of the development co-operation will now be part of the solidarity for Africa by making more money available," he said.
Last week, the EU welcomed Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
These countries join Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom in the EU block.
And commenting on the EU funded Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP) that comes to an end in October this year, Ambassador Sprietsma said the programme has helped a number of private companies in enhancing their capacity to produce quality goods and services.
He noted that with the completion of the programme, the EU would now render support on a different level mainly to do with capacity building.
Ambassador Sprietsma added that banks needed to follow up on the activities of PSDP projects in terms of the financing side.
"The PSD has been quite successful and it's now time to shift and hand over responsibility to indigenous organisations," he said.
"The technical support is now covered and donors need to withdraw gradually."
Ambassador Sprietsma observed that with the reduction in government borrowing, more money from commercial banks would be available to productive sectors of the economy.
"There is no need for the EU taxpayer to continue funding the private sector development as that can now be done by Zambia itself," he said.
Ambassador Sprietsma however added that support to help entrepreneurs would still continue through the Centre for Enterprise Development (CDE) under EU funded programme.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Sprietsma said the economic integration in the southern African region was crucial, as that would assist emerging economies to compete favourably with bigger markets.
He added that the EU was interested in enhancing economic growth in the region.
"The Zambian economy is small and that is why economic integration is vital as that creates bigger markets," he said.
Ambassador Sprietsma added that economic integration as experienced in Europe has the potential of increasing the prospects for economic growth of individual member states by enhancing personal wealth and thereby reducing poverty.