PRESIDENT Mwanawasa says Zambia will be turned into a major exporter of agricultural and food products by the year 2015.
The President said to this effect, Government had embarked on the promotion of the production of a wide variety of crops so that agriculture could become the mainstay of the countryâ€™s economy in the near future.
Mr Mwanawasa said this in Lusaka last night at State banquet hosted for visiting Djibouti President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at Hotel Intercontinental.
â€œIn the agricultural sector, my Government wishes to turn the country into a major exporter of agricultural and food products by the year 2015.
Already, the country has achieved self-sufficiency in the production of maize, the staple food of the Zambian people,â€ Mr Mwanawasa said.
He said in its endeavour to achieve economic development, Government had elected to prioritise agriculture, mining and tourism.
He said Zambia was offering incentives to local and foreign investors with a view to increasing the production of wealth that would help raise the living standards of the people.
In the mining sector, the President said the attractive incentives Government had offered had triggered tremendous expansion of the industry across the nation.
â€œThe investment incentives have also contributed to a remarkable expansion in the tourism sector.
Your Excellency has been afforded a chance to sample one of our most spectacular tourist attractions just outside the city of Livingstone: the Mosi-O-Tunya – the smoke that thunders.â€
He also said Government strongly believed that the interaction between Zambia and Djibouti should transcend the political sphere and trickle down into trade and culture.
The President said such interactions would enable the two countries strengthen longstanding political relations and bonds of friendship at all levels.
â€œMy Government strongly believes that your visit to Zambia will constitute a turning point in the political relations of our two countries,â€ President Mwanawasa said.
He said Mr Guellehâ€™s visit to Zambia went beyond fostering a better understanding between the two Governments and providing an insight into the developments to closer cooperation in the cultural and economic fields.
President Mwanawasa also appreciated the Djibouti Governmentâ€™s great interest in the establishment of an African Union Government at the Accra, Ghana, African Union summit held about two weeks ago.
Mr Mwanawasa said his Government fully understood Djiboutiâ€™s advocacy for the consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law as prerequisites to the formation of a continental government.
And Mr Guelleh said President Mwanawasaâ€™s good leadership since he headed Government in 2002, deserved international support and emulation because Zambia had made many economic strides which the local people should be proud of.
He said his visit to Zambia was mainly dedicated to sharing Djiboutiâ€™s experiences on how it had struggled in fighting poverty and the way it had contributed to the restoration of peace and security in the Common Market for East and Southern Africa and other regions.
Mr Guelleh urged Africans to ensure that the continent no longer depended on other developed nationsâ€™ support.