SA, Zambia ties good for business - Zuma

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has urged business people to exploit opportunities available between South Africa and Zambia.

Addressing a business dinner in Lusaka last night, Zuma said his state visit should be used as a building block for creating opportunities to strengthen business to business links between the two countries.

"I am therefore here to ask Zambia, to partner with us in working for a future of growth, stability and prosperity for our two countries."

The President also urged for close co-operation between South Africa and Zambia in fighting poverty, disease and unemployment.

"Our shared history must encourage us to work together to fight poverty, disease, and ensure that our people have decent jobs and a better quality of life.

"Our two business sectors must work as closely as the two governments will now work together, to ensure that we increase economic co-operation and trade."

Zuma is on a three-day state visit, accompanied by several Cabinet ministers and a business delegation representing 60 companies in the energy and petroleum, ICT, infrastructure, financial services, healthcare, mining and agro-processing sectors.

He said South Africa and Zambia had already registered important progress in strengthening bilateral economic co-operation.

SA-Zambian trade had substantially increased since 1994 and Zambia was now South Africa's number one trading partner on the continent.

Major SA exports to Zambia include mineral oils and fuels, vehicles and components, chemicals, steel and capital equipment.

"We should also continue to work together to strengthen people-to-people contact through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes, as well as encouraging two-way tourism," Zuma said.

While in the country, Zuma was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Zambia for his contribution to the struggle for freedom. He also visited the grave of former ANC secretary General, Duma Nokwe.

Today he will open a R2billion rand sugar plantation project sponsored by South Africa's Illovo, in Mazabuka, outside Lusaka.