President Rupiah Banda has called on Saud Arabian investors to consider partnering with others and invest in oil exploration and production in Zambia.
A few years ago, the Zambian government discovered the presence of oil in Northwestern, Western and other province in the country. Exploration is however still going on.
President Banda said Saudi Arabia’s vast experience in oil production could therefore be extended to Zambia and harness oil production.
He said this at State House today when he received letters of credence from the Kingdom of Saud Arabia’s Ambassador –designate to Zambia, Dr. Hassan Attar.
He urged Dr. Attar to work with the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to explore oil productions potentials and other areas that could be of interest to Saudi investors.
President Banda said Zambia and Saudi Arabia have warm bilateral relations which should be strengthened further.
“My government has laid emphasis on the economic relations. To this effect, it has opened doors to foreign investment, particularly to those investors who may be interested in establishing partnership with Zambian citizens,” he said.
The President also saluted Saud Arabia for its stance on serious international issues, which he said have contributed to the stabilization of the whole world.
He said Zambia shared the same concerns with Saud Arabia on the conflicts in the Middle East, adding that if these conflicts were not handled properly, they could impact negatively on the world economic and on the peace and security of the world.
And Dr. Attar observed that Zambia was enjoying good reputation and respect from the international community.
He hoped that the two countries would enhance political relations for the benefit of their peoples.
“At the economic level, there is mutual cooperation between our two countries through international financial institutions and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends annual relief assistance to the victims of floods in Zambia,” he said.
Dr. Attar pledged to make efforts to promote trade and investment between the two countries through exchange visits between businessmen from that country and Zambia.
President Banda also received credentials from Germany’s Ambassador designate and plenipotentiary, Frank Meyke and Kingdom of Lesotho High Commissioner designate to Zambia, Matlotliso Ntoane.
To the Germany Envoy, Mr. Banda said that the country made a lot of sacrifices in rendering development assistance to developing countries during the current global economic crisis.
He said Zambia would always endeavor to channel that country’s assistance to intended purposes.
He said Germany has rendered a lot of support to Zambia, making her citizens’ living standards better.
President Banda said government was working hard to ensure that the voters’ register was updated before the 2011 elections because participation of citizens in elections was part of enhancing good governance.
He urged Mr Meyke to work towards consolidating the already existing bilateral relations between the two countries.
And Mr. Banda said Lesotho and Zambia should revive their bilateral framework of the Joint Permanent Commission of cooperation as soon as possible.
The bilateral framework between the two countries was established in 1992.
He was concerned that trade and investment between Zambia and Lesotho were insignificant and has therefore called for strengthening of cooperation in these areas.
“There is need, therefore for the two countries to strengthen cooperation in these areas in order to overcome the economic downturn that has engulfed our region as well as the rest of the globe,” he said.
President Banda also called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to strengthen their relations in order to advance their political, economic and social integration of the continent.
Meanwhile, the Germany Ambassador, Mr. Meyke expressed happiness with the way the Zambian government was fighting poverty through the Germany supported projects in water and sanitation and decentrlisation among others.
He urged President Banda to continue fighting corruption and enhance economic and political processes.
Lesotho’s High Commissioner to Zambia said regional integration among SADC countries should be fast tracked and increased in order for them to negotiate with one voice to do trade with the rest of the world.
Ms. Ntoane said diplomatic relations between Zambia and her country should be strengthened in order for the two countries’ citizens to enjoy beyond political spheres.
She said a bilateral commission of cooperation in economic and social sectors should be increased to facilitate trade relations.
“The SADC agenda on regional integration and Free Trade Area that was launched in 2008 will therefore be translated into meaningful results between the two countries thereby contributing to the prosperity of our region,” she said.