President Edgar Lungu says Zambia needs to scale up her mutual and development cooperation with Japan for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.
The President said he looks forward to engaging Japan to deepen her development assistance to Zambia in order for the country to transform into a middle income nation.
President Lungu pointed out that a lot of things have happened between the two countries in their last fifty years of mutual cooperation adding that there is need to renew and strengthen friendship, trade and economic ties.
The Head of State said this when he addressed journalists at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka before departing for a three days state visit to Japan.
President Lungu said his visit to Japan has delayed as it should have been undertaken two years ago.
The trip had been postponed on several occasions due to other commitments.
The President said he wants to tap into Japan’s development expertise, resourcefulness and investment in order to support Zambia’s economic development and diversification, a development which will benefit Zambians.
President Lungu stated that Japan, which is constructing the Kazungula bridge, will also undertake works to reconstruct the new Luangwa bridge as part of the international gateway for connectivity and domestic conduit for free movement of people and goods.
He said Zambia stands to gain from Japan’s resolve to promote and support connectivity, trade, transportation and development of telecommunications in the region.
Mr. Lungu said as part of Zambia’s industrialization agenda, he will solicit Japan’s assistance to help develop the manufacturing sector in order to create jobs and wealth for the country.
And President Lungu has expressed concern with the continued turmoil in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and hoped that peace will return to enable the country hold its Presidential and general elections next week.
President Lungu, who is also the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, said he has received assurances from President Joseph Kabila and DRC authorities that the situation is well.
President Lungu said he remains hopeful and prayerful that the situation will return to normal and that SADC agents are on the ground monitoring the situation.
The DRC, which is expected to hold elections on December 23 this year to elect President Joseph Kabila’s successor, recently witnessed the gutting and destruction of election materials and equipment.
President Lungu, whose plane took off at about 16.45 hours, was seen off by Vice President Inonge Wina, Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Davies Mwila, Service Chiefs, Cabinet Ministers, senior government and party officials.