Saturday, March 03, 2007

Zambia set for development - Levy

Zambia set for development - Levy
By George Chellah
Saturday March 03, 2007 [02:03]

ZAMBIA is in a fast lane to develop, President Levy Mwanawasa said yesterday. And President Mwanawasa said Zambia and Slovakia share similar views on the fight against corruption. Receiving credentials from Ambassadors from Czech republic, Thailand and Slovakia at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa said in all post-communist states in Europe, the Czech republic was considered to have undertaken the transition to a market economic system with the greatest success.

“Your country’s programme of rapid privatisation, price and currency stabilisation and the establishment of a new banking system, while preserving a low level of unemployment, has won strong popular support,” President Mwanawasa said. “At the same time these economic reforms together with the country’s political stability have attracted widespread foreign direct investment in your country. Zambia would greatly appreciate to get a leaf from Czech’s experience in the mentioned areas as our country is in a fast lane to develop.” He said there was need for Zambia and the Czech to revisit their bilateral agreements in order to embark on new and mutually beneficial areas of development cooperation. “Let me commend your government for the decision taken a few years ago in which the Czech republic placed Zambia and Angola as two countries in Southern Africa targeted for Czech’s development assistance, in areas such as agriculture, mining and tourism,” President Mwanawasa said. “I would also like to thank his Excellency the President of Czech, who in the recent past expressed his desire to visit Zambia. I do hope that you will put this intention to visit Zambia on your priority list. “Zambia is indeed very grateful for the gesture to be placed on your development assistance agenda. You may also wish to convey to the Czech president my willingness that he pays a visit to our country and I would also look forward to visiting the Czech Republic one of these days.”

And Czech republic Ambassador to Zambia Vaclav Jilek described the relations between Zambia and the Czech as cordial. “With the support of the government of Zambia I will strive my best to move the relations further,” he said. And receiving credentials from Ambassador-designate of the republic of Slovakia to Zambia, Pavan Ivan, President Mwanawasa said the relations between the two countries date back to the time of Zambia’s independence. “Our two countries share similar views on many issues such as the fight against international terrorism, drug trafficking, environmental degradation and corruption, which are regular agenda items at the international fora,” President Mwanawasa said. “We would appreciate cooperation with your government in cardinal areas which are fundamental to the development of good governance and democracy in Zambia.”

He said he was aware that in a survey conducted a few years ago in Europe, 50 per cent of some European companies and nationals considered and chose Slovakia as the best place for investment.
“This is an area of great interest to Zambia and my government would therefore, be keen to learn more from you. Zambia tales pride in its highly skilled human resources, which require enhanced skills training in order to keep abreast with the latest technological advances,” President Mwanawasa said. “My government would therefore welcome technical assistance and other forms of cooperation for basic and advanced training in areas which your country has expertise, such as engineering, agricultural studies, information technology and others. This would equip our youth with the knowledge and skills to take the Zambian economy forward.” President Mwanawasa instructed foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana to arrange a meeting with the Slovakia Ambassador to discuss hydro energy.

And Ambassador Ivan said he wishes to develop political dialogue between the authorities of the two countries. “There is a good potential on both sides to be explored in the fields of trade exchanges, industrial or mining cooperation as well as tourism. In this connection, Slovakia would like to participate in the industrial or energy projects like small hydro-power stations and development of the further economic progress of Zambia,” Ambassador Ivan said.
“Slovakia’s experts mainly from the engineering, hydro or technical areas are ready to establish communication with their partners in Zambia. My country also wishes to develop university and cultural exchanges for the benefit of mutual interest of our countries.
“Such concrete steps will be useful for mutual understanding and for better promotion of your wonderful country in Slovakia and for introduction of my country in Zambia.”

And receiving credentials from the new Thailand Ambassador to Zambia, Domedej Bunnag, President Mwanawasa said he was hopeful that the two countries would share experiences such as the achievements in gemstone mining, which accounts for one third of Thailand’s GDP. “Undoubtedly, this sector has contributed to the welfare of the Thai people. Furthermore, I believe the cooperation between the two countries would put the spirit of South-South cooperation into reality,” he said. He said Zambia and Thailand have exchanged views and shared common positions on a number of issues on international agenda. “Such as the reform of the United Nations, respect for human rights and the protection of the environment,” President Mwanawasa said.

President Mwanawasa also said the relations between the two countries were further strengthened through their joint membership in international organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the UN. And Ambassador Bunnag said there has been progress in relations between Zambia and since the establishment of diplomatic ties. “Indeed this is a great privilege for me to be appointed Ambassador to Zambia, a stable and peaceful country in Africa. I am confident that with your personal support I shall be able to fulfill my mission,” he said

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