President Rupiah Banda Thursday ended his three-day official visit to Turkey where he held meetings with Government officials and wooed some key investors, including Turkish Airlines, which will soon launch a flight into Lusaka.
President Banda, who was in Turkey at the invitation of his counterpart, Abdullah Gul, said the visit was successful and hoped the Turkish businesses that had shown interest in Zambia will soon begin to invest in the country.
He said Turkey was a strategic country as it is one of the emerging market economies, which is rated among the top 15 in the world and the sixth largest in Europe.
During his three-day visit, President Banda held official talks with his counterpart in Ankara before flying to Istanbul where meetings with the Turkish business forum were held. The focus of the visit was to capitalise on the warm relations between Zambia and Turkey to establish conditions for development of economic ties through bilateral cooperation and the promotion of trade and investment between the two countries.
President Banda said he was happy that during his visit to Turkey, the two Governments signed key agreements, which will be followed up by others in areas of mutual interest in the near future.
A bilateral agreement on Air Services was signed, followed by two memoranda of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of Foreign Service Training and on Political Consultation between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey.
The President said “The Air Services Agreement” will, among other things, provide for Turkish Airlines flights into Zambia and similarly Zambian airline companies will fly to Turkey. The MoU on Political Consultation provides for consultation between the Governments (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on bilateral and international issues.
The MoU on Diplomatic Training provides for cooperation between Zambia and Turkey in the field of diplomatic training as well as for cooperation between the respective diplomatic training institutions.
President Banda said he was also happy to have officiated at the first-ever Turkey-Zambia Trade and Investment Forum, which was held in Istanbul on 14th July, 2010 at which 11 Zambian business executives were present and resulted in the establishment of business contacts for future collaboration. The forum was attended by several Turkish businessmen and women who showed interest in investing in Zambia.
President Banda assured the investors that their investment will be protected in Zambia and announced immigration measures, which will allow Turkish investors and tourists to obtain visas at the point of entry in Zambia as opposed to applying through Zambian embassies, which is cumbersome. The President said he would like to see more Turkish tourists coming to Zambia following the soon-to-be-launched direct flight from Istanbul to Lusaka.
Turkey has the world’s 15th largest GDP-PPP and 17th largest Nominal GDP. The World Bank classifies Turkey as an upper-middle-income country in terms of the country’s per capita GDP in 2007 and is a founding member of the OECD and the G-20 major economies.
President Banda said his focus is to attract investors from country’s like Turkey and Brazil, which are leading emerging market economies in the world.
President Banda left Turkey Thursday morning.