Friday, September 28, 2012

Britain remains Zambia's biggest bilateral donor - Chikwanda

Britain remains Zambia's biggest bilateral donor - Chikwanda
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:10 CAT

FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has requested Princess Anne to help market Zambia's agricultural potential in her country.

During a dinner hosted in her honour by the govern- ment at the Lusaka's InterContinental Hotel, Chikwanda who is also acting Republican president said the country had good climatic conditions for farming.

"As Zambia strives for higher economic growth rates in order to eradicate poverty, agriculture will be our major thrust. It is very significant for us that you have nodded our efforts in that area. You will be our powerful ambassador to the investor community, especially those who would have the inclination for large-scale agriculture," he said on Wednesday night.

On the economy, Chikwanda said the real challenge for the Zambian government was to stimulate development in rural areas.

He said as a result, the government had spent its one year in office preparing the economy for the next fiscal year.

"The wide range of projects we will embark on has a very high job content. Unemployment is the biggest challenge for our country, particularly given the demographic reality of a population that is predominantly young," Chikwanda said.

"The United Kingdom, despite challenges in its economy, still remains the biggest bilateral donor to Zambia. A very large chunk of the aid package from Britain goes to budget support which gives us consid- erable leeway of allocation of resources for our devel- opment agenda."

And Princess Anne hailed Zambia's links with Britain, which she said trickled down to individual level.
She said because of the country's hospitality, there were so many British nationals who migrated to Zambia and had settled in various business areas.

"The Commonwealth Agricultural Society has been fascinating from our perspective because we've heard from small-scale farmers, commercial farmers; we've heard how you relate to the increase in capacity and potential for the future. And that potential for the future is really exciting. And I hope that Britain will share with you; and again we can create even more links in future, not just businesses but between the people which is important," said Princess Anne.

"Zambia does now play an increasing role on the world stage and that chal- lenges you in a way, particularly in relationships with the Commonwealth; you set very high standards too."

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