President Edgar Lungu says Zambia exported goods and services into Zimbabwe exceeded US$1.3 billion in a period of four years while imports from Zimbabwe into Zambia over the same period were above US$486 million in terms of trade and investments.
Opening the 56th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo dubbed, “stimulating trade, seizing opportunities to accelerate growth,” President Lungu said relations between the two countries have strengthened from 2010 to 2014.
“Exports into Zimbabwe exceeded US$1.3bn while imports from Zimbabwe into Zambia over the same period were above US$486m. The trade and investment relations between the two countries have strengthened over the years from 2010 to 2014,” President Lungu said.
Mr. Lungu said, the two countries have witnessed private sector players from both countries investing in both Zimbabwe and Zambia in terms of investments.
Mr. Lungu said the 2015 Fair theme was befitting and timely as the two countries and the region are implementing reforms aimed at stimulating trade within the countries and across borders.
He said the trade fair should be viewed as a platform for organisations to interact, create business partnerships and promote trade and investment in Zimbabwe and the region.
He further disclosed that the fair has come at the time when Zimbabwe and Zambia need to seize the various business opportunities and accelerate economic growth, implementing measures aimed at ensuring that value addition to the various resources Zimbabwe and Zambia is endowed with.
The President said in terms of investments, Zambia and Zimbabwe which he termed as siamese twins have witnessed private sector players from both countries investing in the two countries.
Mr. Lungu reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that the two countries enhance and stimulate trade in line with the trade fair’s theme.
Mr. Lungu directed Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe to closely work with her Zimbabwean counterpart to ensure that the Victoria Falls – Livingstone one-stop border post which was opened during the 2013 United Nations World Trade Organisation is operationalized.
He urged border agencies to compliment the efforts of the private sector particularly the small and medium entrepreneurs and ensure that trade between the two countries flows smoothly and is uninterrupted.
“I would like to urge all our border agencies to compliment the efforts of our private sector, in particular, our small and medium entrepreneurs and ensure that trade between our two countries flows smoothly and uninterrupted,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu recollected that since time immemorial, Zimbabwe and Zambia have worked together in the implementation of some important projects such as the construction and management of the Kariba dam, the establishment of the first of its kind in Africa Chirundu border one-stop border post among others.
Mr. Lungu commended the board, management and staff of the 56th ZITF for making this year’s fair is a great success.
He paid tribute to President Robert Mugabe for inviting him to grace the 56 edition of ZITF and for the strides that country has made not only in the economic fields, but also in other human endeavours.
Whilst in Zimbabwe, President Lungu attended the extra– ordinary SADC summit whose main objective was to put the region’s industrialisation and development agenda at the centre in order to deepen and broaden productive capacities and enhance competitiveness.
This is the second official engagement the Zambian Head of state has made since assuming office in January this year.
President Lungu is accompanied to Zimbabwe by his wife, the First Lady Esther, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, his Spokesperson Amos Chanda, Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe and other senior government officials.
He is expected back home this afternoon.