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SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, AT THE ZAMBIA – SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS FORUM AT GOVERNMENT COMPLEX LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, THURSDAY, 12TH OCTOBER, 2017 • YOUR EXCELLENCY, MR. JACOB ZUMA,PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA; • CABINET MINISTERS FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE REPUBLIC OFZAMBIA; • SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA; • REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE REPUBLIC OFZAMBIA; • DISTINGUISHED GUESTS; • MEMBERS OF THE PRESS; • LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: LET ME START BY WELCOMING YOUR EXCELLENCY MR. JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AND YOUR DELEGATION TO THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, AND TO THIS FORUM. MR PRESIDENT, WE FEEL GREATLY HONOURED TO HAVE YOU AND YOUR DELEGATION IN OUR MIDST TODAY. I AM, EQUALLY PLEASED TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS FORUM, WHOSE OBJECTIVE IS TO DISPLAY AND SHARE THE TRADE AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES THAT EXIST IN OUR TWO COUNTRIES. WE LOOK FORWARD TO MORE INITIATIVES WHERE ZAMBIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS CAN MEET AND TRANSACT AROUND COMMON BUSINESS INTEREST. YOUR EXCELLENCY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: YOU MAY RECALL THAT NOT LONG AGO, IN DECEMBER 2016, WE HELD A BUSINESS FORUM IN SOUTH AFRICA DURING MY STATE VISIT TO YOUR COUNTRY. DURING THAT FORUM, I REQUESTED THAT THE NEXT BUSINESS FORUM SHOULD BE HELD IN ZAMBIA AND BE GRACED BY THE TWO HEADS OF STATE FROM ZAMBIA AND SOUTH AFRICA. IN THAT REGARD, MAY I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK THE ORGANISERS FROM BOTH COUNTRIES FOR RESPONDING POSITIVELY AND MAKING THIS FORUM A REALITY. IT IS MY SINCERE HOPE THAT THESE INSTITUTIONS WILL CONTINUE TO COLLABORATE AND ORGANISE BUSINESS AND TRADE PLATFORMS SUCH AS THIS ONE. THIS WILL DEEPEN TRADE AND INVESTMENT BETWEEN OUR TWO GREAT NATIONS. YOUR EXCELLENCY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: IT IS ALSO GRATIFYING TO NOTE THAT THIS BUSINESS FORUM IS DEDICATED TOWARDS INTENSIFYING THE WARM BILATERAL RELATIONS THAT EXIST BETWEEN ZAMBIA AND SOUTH AFRICA. YOU MAY RECALL THAT HISTORICALLY AND POLITICALLY, ZAMBIA AND IN PARTICULAR LUSAKA, WAS THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE AFRICA NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC) AND HOSTED A LOT OF FREEDOM FIGHTERS. ZAMBIA WAS ALSO THE FIRST COUNTRY THAT COMRADE NELSON MANDELA VISITED AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON IN FEBRUARY, 1990. SINCE THEN, ZAMBIA HAS ENJOYED CORDIAL RELATIONS WITH SOUTH AFRICA AS ONE OF OUR LARGEST TRADING PARTNERS. TODATE, BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND ZAMBIA HAVE GROWN FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH. THIS IS EVIDENCED BY INCREASED TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES WHICH HAS NOW SURPASSED US$3.8 BILLION. WE HAVE OVER 250 SOUTH AFRICAN COMPANIES OPERATING IN ZAMBIA, WITH A COMBINED PRODUCT RANGE OF ABOUT 3,000 PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ACROSS VARIOUS SECTORS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: TRADE BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND ZAMBIA REMAINS BUOYANT. ZAMBIA HAS WITNESSED MASSIVE INVESTMENTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA ESPECIALLY IN THE MINING SECTOR, RETAIL CHAIN STORES AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT SUCH AS SHOPPING MALLS AMONG OTHERS. SOUTH AFRICA HAS ALSO CONTINUED TO EXPLORE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGRICULTURE AND AGRO PROCESSING SECTORS. TRADE BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES CAN FURTHER EXPAND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR LOCAL COMPANIES THROUGH THE OPENING UP OF NEW MARKETS. HOWEVER, WE MUST ENDEVOUR TO REMOVE UNNECESSARY BARRIERS AND MAKE IT EASIER TO EXPORT GOODS FROM BOTH SIDES. THE REMOVAL OF TRADE BARRIERS AS WELL AS OPENING UP OF OUR ECONOMIES TO TRADE AND INVESTMENTS MUST BE RECIPROCAL TO REDUCE TRADE IMBALANCES. DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: FOR US TO STRENGTHEN THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR IN LIGHT OF GREATER COMPETITIVENESS AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION, THERE IS NEED FOR CONTINUOUS POLICY IMPROVEMENTS AND INITIATIVES. MY GOVERNMENT HAS THEREFORE, CONTINUED TO IMPLEMENT A COMPREHENSIVE BUSINESS REFORM PROGRAMME AIMED AT CREATING A CONDUCIVE INVESTMENT CLIMATE TO ATTRACT FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT,AS WELL AS STIMULATE LOCAL INVESTMENTS. OUR COMMITMENT IS ANCHORED WITHIN THE VISION 2030, THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND THE INDUSTRIALISATION AND JOB CREATION STRATEGY FOR ZAMBIA. WE ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO PROMOTING STABILITY, UPHOLDING DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE RULE OF LAW, AS WELL AS ACCELERATING INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO FOSTER SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE PRIORITISED INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AS A KEY STRATEGY TO FACILITATING DIVERSIFICATION AND INDUSTRIALISATION. THE MAIN THRUST UNDER INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION; EXPANSION AND CONSTRUCTION OF HYDRO-POWER STATIONS, REHABILITATION OF RAILWAY LINES AND CONSTRUCTION AND MODERNISATION OF AIRPORTS. ALL THESE PROGRAMMES ARE AIMED AT TRANSFORMING ZAMBIA INTO A TRULY LAND-LINKED COUNTRY HENCE CONTRIBUTING TO OPENING UP OF NEW MARKETS AND LOWERING THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: GOVERNMENT IS ALSO PURSUING ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION AND JOB CREATION THROUGH VALUE ADDITION AND INDUSTRIALISATION PREMISED ON AGRICULTURE, MINING AND TOURISM. THIS WILL BE DRIVEN BY PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT, WHILE GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY ITS ROLE OF CREATING A CONDUCIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT. IN THIS REGARD LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ZAMBIA’S GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION AND USE IT AS A MANUFACTURING AND EXPORT BASE TO PENETRATE INTO MORE YAWNING MARKETS ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT. SIMILARLY, I WISH TO IMPLORE THE ZAMBIAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO ALSO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S CLOSE TRADING TIES WITH EUROPE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, AND USE IT AS AN EXPORT ROUTE FOR ZAMBIAN MANUFACTURED GOODS TO THESE MARKETS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: AS I CONCLUDE, LET ME REITERATE MY GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO INCREASING PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY. WE WILL CONTINUE TO FORMULATE POLICIES THAT ENABLE INVESTORS TO MAKE PROFITS AND AT THE SAME TIME EMPOWER THE LOCAL BUSINESSES. I WISH TO ASSURE THE SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND WOULD BE INVESTORS TO ZAMBIA THAT OUR GOVERNMENT WILL ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOUR INVESTMENTS AND A FAVOURABLE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT FOR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION AND GROWTH. OUR GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS ARE HERE TO FACILITATE YOUR CONNECTION TO RELEVANT INSTITUTIONS TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION AND SUPPORT AS YOU ENDEAVOUR TO ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESSES IN ZAMBIA. I AM CONFIDENT THAT THIS BUSINESS FORUM WILL NOT END ON EXCHANGE OF IDEAS, BUT THAT AS THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY WILL ENSURE THE ACTUALISATION OF THESE IDEAS INTO TANGIBLE EXCHANGE OF LETTERS OF INTENT. I LOOK FORWARD TO AN INVITATION FROM YOU THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN THE NEAR FUTURE TO ME AND MY DEAR BROTHER, PRESIDENT ZUMA, TO COMMISSION YOUR INDUSTRIES THAT WILL HAVE BEEN CONCEPTUALISED FROM THIS FORUM. YOUR EXCELLENCY: ONCE AGAIN, I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR GRACIOUSLY PARTICIPATING IN THIS FORUM. YOUR PRESENCE, PRESIDENT ZUMA, IS A CLEAR INDICATION OF YOUR DESIRE, WHICH IS EQUALLY MY ASPIRATION, TO FURTHER CONSOLIDATE OUR BILATERAL TIES. LET ME ALSO THANK THE ORGANISERS FOR SUCCESSFULLY ORGANISING THIS EVENT. TO THE PARTICIPANTS, THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS FORUM POSSIBLE. OUR GRATITUDE IS ALSO EXTENDED TO OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS FOR THEIR CONTINUED AND DEPENDABLE SUPPORT TO OUR DEVELOPMENT AGENDA. IT IS NOW MY SINGULAR HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE TO DECLARE THIS BUSINESS FORUM OFFICIALLY OPEN, AS I INVITE MY DEAR BROTHER AND COLLEAGUE PRESIDENT ZUMA TO ADDRESS THIS FORUM. I THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS US ALL.

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