LUSAKA, Zambian Finance Minister Felix Mutati says South African and Zambian companies must build on the commitments made by the Heads of State of the two countries to boost bilateral economic relations.

Speaking at the start of a two-day Trade and Investment Mission organized by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in Lusaka Monday, Mutati urged delegates and officials to build on the commitments made by Zambian President Edgar Lungu and President Jacob Zuma when President Lungu visited South Africa last December.

We need to move towards the struggle of creating a legacy that will translate into economic benefits for our people. This meeting should address how businesses can work with each other. Zambians must not wait for South African firms to only come and invest, you must also invest in South Africa. Helping each other will help alleviate unemployment. What matters most is when everybody is benefiting, said Mutati.

During the State visit in 2016, the two presidents reiterated the importance of ongoing economic co-operation between the two countries in terms of trade and investment. The bilateral Business Forum had met to explore more avenues for co-operation.

At that time, Presidents Zuma and Lungu urged the private sector to increase economic co-operation between the two countries.

Mutati, who described Zambia and South Africa as powerhouses in their own right, said Zambia presented a conducive business environment, including a stable economy, predictable tax regime, stabilised power generation, abundance of water, and an economic and business model that can make money for businesses.

Zambian Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakawe said the country is aiming for a double digit Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018. Come and work with us. Have a long term view of Zambia. Do not trade with us as trading partners but as value-addition partners. Our government will protect you and your business as you do business in the country, she said.

Last week, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the mission would help the dti contribute towards South Africa’s objectives of regional integration by strengthening economic relations between the two countries. The dti is leading 20 local companies on the Trade and Investment Mission, which it has funded.

The mission organized business-to-business meetings, roundtable discussions and sector-specific site visits during the visit to Zambia.


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