The 28th of August 2015 marked the Zambia National Day at EXPO Milan (the Universal Exposition held every five years worldwide and currently running until the end of October).
The governmental Delegation from Lusaka was headed by Minister of Health Hon. Joseph Kasonde accompanied by Vice Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Hon. Miles Sampa, and was welcomed by the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova.
Senator Della Vedova remarked that : “Expo Milan 2015 is a very suitable place for dealing with cooperation and with agro-industry policies and that Africa’s contribution to the Exhibition was overwhelming: 40 delegations from the African continent are attending the Expo. Italy is happy to accept the Zambian invitation at its national pavilion, whose theme is “come let us produce food together “. The production of fruits and vegetable represents a very promising area for building a sustainable partnership with Italy, together with other sectors like energy, environment, infrastructures and transportation, as well as agro-industry”. Senator Della Vedova acknowledged the political stability and the economic growth of Zambia, which represents one of the best partners for Italy in the Sub-Saharan Region to be considered within the Italian governmental initiative dedicated to Africa (“Iniziativa Italia-Africa”).
Minister Kasonde thanked Italy for the very warm hospitality and invited everybody to visit the Zambian Pavilion. “Food security” he observed “is one of the major challenges as 800 million people worldwide suffer nutrition problems. This is a global problem deserving global responses. In this perspective we need investments in agricultural infrastructure, we also need sound agricultural policies dealing with the problem of food waste. We need as well to fight against poverty in rural areas”.
A business forum entitled “ More Italy in Zambia” was held in the afternoon and organized by Zambia Developing Agency (ZDA). The event saw the participation of a great number of enterprises, including Asso-Africa, a branch of the Italian Industrial Federation (Confindustria) dedicated to promote relationship between Italy and Africa. ZDA General Director, Patrick Chisanga, emphasized Zambia’s geostrategic position between South Africa and Kenya and its membership to SADC and COMESA, which give access to an enlarged area of consumers. Tourism and energy (particularly solar) are the main areas of development. ZDA also emphasized the role of the Multi Facility Economic Zones in providing a suitable framework for direct investments.
At the end of the business forum in Milan, Wegh Group and NorthWest Rail Limited of Zambia signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the railway sector. In this respect, Italy and Zambia signed in 2003 the Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, that entered into force in 2014.
Embassy of Italy