The Government of Switzerland has hailed the bilateral relations and economic cooperation that exists between Zambia and that country. Federal Councillor and Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis said his country and Zambia have since independence enjoyed good relations that have worked for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
Mr. Cassis said following the establishment of a Swiss Consulate in Zambia in 1969 after his country recognised the independence of Zambia in 1966, the two countries have cooperated in a number of areas.
He said Zambia and Switzerland have also signed various agreements that include the reciprocal protection of investment and the convention for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes and income and prevention of tax evasion.
Mr. Cassis who is leading a delegation to Zambia said the economic relations between the two countries have since increased with Zambia’s exports to his country amounting to more than what it exports to China, South Africa and United States of America combined.
He said Switzerland has become the largest trading partner of Zambia with about 44.3% shares in Zambia’s export.
Mr. Cassis stated that he has come with the business delegation because his country feel they can invest in areas such as pharmaceuticals, mining, cement production, agriculture and commodity training which can be of strategic interest to Zambia.
He noted that his delegation has already been to the Copperbelt Province where his country runs one of the biggest Swiss investment in Africa, in the name of Mopani Copper Mines.
He said his delegation is impressed with the mine’s implementation of the corporate social responsibility programs, particularly, the vocational training centre and the safety system.
Mr. Cassis said his government is impressed that the bilateral relations between Zambia and Switzerland have been fruitful and hopes to deepen the ties and complement the diplomatic fronts.
He was speaking when he called on President Edgar Lungu at state house in Lusaka yesterday.
And President Lungu said Zambia appreciates bilateral ties that are beneficial to citizens of both countries.
The Head of State and the Swiss delegation later held a closed door meeting.
The President earlier met the Germany Delegation led by Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Herd Muller who praised Zambia for being an example in Africa in maintaining peace and unity in the country.
Mr. Muller said the region looks up to Zambia and hoped that the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo will have a peaceful transition of power following last week’s elections.
President Lungu said the regional bodies are on top of this adding that, he is in the afternoon scheduled to travel to South Africa for a meeting regarding the Congo situation.
Later, President Lungu met the European Union Delegation led by EU Ambassador Elessandro Mariano.
The delegation and the President discussed matters of peace and security of the region with President Lungu noting that, SADC leaders are hoping that the will of the people will prevail in the DRC.
He said Zambia is the chair of the SADC organ on defence and security and will help were possible to ensure peace in the region.
EU Ambassador Alessandro Mariano said the EU will continue to work with Zambia and the rest of the countries in the region.