Government will propose partial amendments to the trade and economic cooperation agreements signed between Zambia and Turkey in order to realign them to the vision of the new dawn government of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that promotes value addition to raw materials, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Chipoka Mulenga has said.
Mr Mulenga said it is important for Zambia and Turkey to work together to actualise the trade and economic agreements signed between the two countries and to reverse the low trade.
“Right now, it is true that our bilateral engagement through trade and investment is not very impressive. We are sitting at between US$19 to US$ 25 million in terms of trade volume when we are hoping to go beyond US$1 billion.
“I have come to understand that we have signed a lot of bilateral agreements, which have not been actualised by both countries. There are a few amendments that we need to bring to the table and see how we can make this a reality and the new dawn government is very committed to doing that,” Mr Mulenga said.
The Minister was speaking in Istanbul shortly before departure for Zambia after attending the 3rd Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.
Mr Mulenga said government is determined to create jobs for Zambians through promotion of value addition and industrialisation.
“We have come to believe that Turkey has got the technology, ability, science and investment that we think we can partner with them and realise our vision as the New Dawn Government. We have come to understand that through value addition and industrialisation, we are going to create decent, pensionable and contractual jobs for our Zambian people,” Mr Mulenga said
He described his visit to Turkey as successful because he was able to meet and interact with Turkish investors that have expressed interested to invest in Zambia.
“I was very clear on the mandate that I had on the vision or rather the policy that the new dawn government has come up with to attract investment that will bring value addition to our country. For a very long time, Zambia has always depended on extractive industry but we want to go beyond that. As the new dawn government, we want to improve the living standards of our Zambian people by adding value addition to their crops,” Mr Mulenga said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president Chabuka Kawesha said his organisation had received substantial investment inquiries mainly in agriculture and renewable energies at the just-ended Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.
“We could see that they drew a lot of excitement and people are looking at Zambia as hub that can be utilised for feeding into other countries within the region. So, it is something that we can capitalise on. And given the flexibility and the willingness that we have seen from the government, I think as private investors, it is now the time to make our mark and to ensure that we establish solid partnerships with all the prospective investors that are looking at our market,” Dr Kawesha said
This was contained in a statement issued to ZANIS by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian embassy in Turkey, Jeremy Munyjali and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.