Zuma wraps up Zambian visit

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will leave Zambia later today after concluding a three-day state visit to that country.

During his visit, South Africa and Zambia signed two agreements and four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU's) aimed at enhancing bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

The agreements covered co-operation in the fields of energy, mining and geology while the MoU's covered trade and industry, health, agriculture and diplomatic consultations.

Zuma held talks with Zambian President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, during which the two reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

In a joint communiqu, issued on Wednesday, the two expressed satisfaction at the warm bilateral relations existing between the two countries and reiterated the need to collaborate in the fight against poverty, under-development and HIV and AIDS.

The two presidents also affirmed the need to enhance people-to-people co-operation through cultural exchange programmes.

On regional issues the two leaders exchanged views on the prevailing political, economic and security situations in the region. "In this regard, the two heads of state committed themselves to working together in pursuit of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Agenda," read the communiqu,.

With regard to climate change, the two emphasised the need for the international community to work together at the current United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a view to establishing a legally binding framework to reduce carbon emissions.

In other international issues, the two Presidents reiterated their common view on the need to reform the multilateral institutions including the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods Institutions to better represent the interests of developing countries.

The two also welcomed the international efforts that seek to address the global financial crisis which they felt has negatively affected the developing countries.

Zuma, who was accompanied several Cabinet ministers and a business delegation representing 60 companies, urged business people to exploit opportunities available between South Africa and Zambia.

He said his state visit should be used as a building block for creating opportunities to strengthen business to business links between the two countries. He also requested that Zambia partner with South Africa for a future of growth, stability and prosperity.

Zuma was awarded the highest national honour, the Eagle of Zambia during his visit, in addition to an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Zambia for his contribution to the struggle for freedom.

The President opened the R1.7 billion rand sugar plantation project sponsored by South Africa's Illovo, in Mazabuka, outside Lusaka.

Speaking that event, Zuma said Zambia was a model country for investment.

"There is no doubt that the company's expansion has had a positive development in the economic development of Zambia through foreign exchange earnings and provision of sustainable and descent employment."