By BENEDICT TEMBO
Zambia and the United States today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will set forth a direction for our commercial engagements, prioritise the key sectors that are critical to Zambia.
Speaking at the at the commercial signing of the MoU, US Ambassador to Zambia Michael Gonzales said the agreement will catalyse the various elements across the U.S. government to enable the private sector to flourish, to trade, to invest, to create jobs.
“I am thrilled to be here today, I am so pleased that we made it to this point of the MoU signing, and extremely excited by what we can accomplish together as we actualise this commercial MoU and make a reality of what we first envisioned some months ago,” Mr Gonzales said.
He commended the technical experts from the Embassy and the U.S. Department of Commerce who have been working hand in hand with their colleagues from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to come up with an MoU, which is agreeable to both countries and promote trade, investment, and job creation for both countries.
‘’This has been an incredible partnership. In my remarks during the U.S.- Zambia Business Summit last October, I spoke about how far Zambia has come since August 2021. And it has come that far not just because of happenstance, but because of a bold vision, unyielding political will from the very senior-most levels of government, and an energy and dynamism from a citizenry of business leaders and workers alike that is palpable in demanding and achieving that change,”Mr Gonzales said.
He said apart from Zambia implementing an International Monetary Fund programme which is anchoring real economic reform; Zambia is also tackling inflation and stabilising the national currency and implementing pro-growth policies.
“Zambia recognises that economic growth comes from investment and the entrepreneurial dynamism of the private sector. My team and I are committed to doing all we can to ensure we see action and results as we drive this MoU forward and continually foster our bilateral commercial engagement,”Mr Gonzales said.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga said the MoU being signed today demonstrates the commitment of our two nations of our shared interest on trade and investment.
“The signing of this MoU is as a result of our President (Hakainde Hichilema)’s visits to the United States of America and my subsequent meeting with the Secretary of Commerce of the United States of America. This has been further cemented by the visit of the Vice President of the United States of America to Zambia, Kamala Harris,” Mr Mulenga said
He expressed delight the MoU caters for a wide range of investment sectors including capacity building for Small and Medium Enterprises, technical assistance for bankable projects, support for the growth of youth and women-led business in Zambia.
It also includes boosting the participation of youth and women to decrease rural poverty through green growth.
“Investing in these areas will undoubtedly, increase job creation and enhance economic development which speaks to the Government agenda,” Mr Mulenga said
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Middle East and Africa, from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Camille Richardson witnessed the signing of the MoU.