ANGOLA has expressed interest in becoming a major supplier of oil to Zambia following expansion of its oil refineries.
Angolan Minister of External Relations Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti said yesterday that the two countries should develop transport infrastructure to facilitate the movement of oil from that country to Zambia.
Dr Chikoti was speaking yesterday on arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for a two-day visit.
Angola is developing a new oil refinery in Lobito and Lua borders, which would greatly enhance oil supply in that country and Zambia stands to greatly benefit from this.
The minister said there was need to improve the railway transport system between Zambia and Angola to facilitate for the transportation of oil between the two countries.
“We have a railway line from Angola up to DRC but there is hope for Zambia and Angola to discuss a shorter rail line to facilitate the transportation of oil so that Zambia can benefit,” Dr Chikoti said.
Hs was met at the airport by Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary George Zulu and some Angolan officials.
Dr Chikoti also said that his government would engage Angolan businesses on possibilities of purchasing agro products such as maize from Zambia.
He said this in response to an appeal by Mr Zulu for Angola to consider buying maize and other products from Zambia, which has in excess of three million tonnes of maize this year and requires a market.
But Dr Chikoti said the purchase of food in Angola had been left to the private sector and called for meetings between Zambia and the Angolan private sector.
There is need to have sustained production every year to avoid shortage of the commodity on the market once Angola starts buying maize from Zambia.
He was glad that agriculture in Zambia was growing very fast and that Angola’s open economy would greatly benefit from that sector.
“Zambia and Angola should also enhance energy supply and see how best the two countries could share power, especially in border areas. There is a lot we are anxious about and open to assist,” he said.
Mr Zulu said Zambia would continue to pursue the agenda of benefiting from the oil industry in Angola.
He said Angola should also consider getting its food from Zambia and not Brazil because the country had excess maize available for sale.
While in Zambia, Dr Chikoti is expected to meet President Michael Sata or Vice-President Guy Scott.
He is also expected to hold meetings with Commerce Trade and Industry,Transport and Communication, as well as Foreign Affairs ministers.
Dr Chikoti will also meet Angolan residents in Zambia.
TIMES OF ZAMBIA