SPEECH BY EDGAR LUNGU AT A DINNER HOSTED BY THE ZAMBIA SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL

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SPEECH BY EDGAR LUNGU AT A DINNER HOSTED BY THE ZAMBIA SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL SOUTH AFRICA
5th December, 2015• CABINET MINISTERS • PERMANENT SECRETARIES• THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL• HIS EXCELLENCY THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF ZAMBIA TO SOUTH AFRICA• SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS• THE PRIVATE SECTOR • DISTINGUISHED GUESTS• LADIES AND GENTLEMENLET ME START BY THANKING HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE OF THE RAINBOW NATION FOR THE WARM HOSPITALITY ACCORDED TO ME AND MY DELEGATION SINCE OUR ARRIVAL IN SOUTH AFRICA.IT IS MY GREAT HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE TO BE PRESENT AT THIS DINNER BEING HOSTED BY THE ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL. I WISH TO THANK THE BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR INVITING ME TO THIS BUSINESS FORUM DINNER.DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMENI AM GLAD TO NOTE THAT THE ZAMBIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS COMMUNITIES HAVE JOINED TOGETHER AND ESTABLISHED THE ZAMBIA SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL AIMED AT FOSTERING SUSTAINABLE TRADE AND INVESTMENT BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. MAY I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE ROLE THE MISSION PLAYED IN FACILITATING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BUSINESS COUNCIL. AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, IT IS A GLOBAL TREND FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO ESTABLISH BUSINESS COUNCILS TO COMPLEMENT GOVERNMENT EFFORTS IN PROMOTING TRADE AND INVESTMENTS. IT IS MY DESIRE THAT THE ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL WILL EMULATE BEST PRACTICES OF OTHER BUSINESS COUNCILS WORLD OVER TO HASTEN THE PACE OF ACHIEVING ITS OBJECTIVES. DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMENTHE ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL WILL BE EXPECTED TO ACT AS A BUSINESS INFORMATION PORTAL ON TRADE AND INVESTMENT, PARTICULARLY IN PROVIDING INFORMATION ON EXPORT AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES EXISTING IN THE TWO COUNTRIES. THE BUSINESS COUNCIL IS FURTHER EXPECTED TO FACILITATE BUSINESS INTERACTIONS AND ALSO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON REGULATORY, LABOUR AND IMMIGRATION ISSUES. THIS WILL ULTIMATELY AUGMENT GOVERNMENT’S POLICY OF ENCOURAGING INCREASED PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT, JOB AND WEALTH CREATION. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA HAS CONTINUED TO IMPLEMENT INVESTMENT CLIMATE AND ECONOMIC POLICIES AIMED AT CREATING AN ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN ORDER TO ATTRACT FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT AND STIMULATE LOCAL INVESTMENTS.DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMENMY GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO CONTINUED TO PURSUE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES THAT PROMOTE AND FACILITATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPETITIVE PRIVATE SECTOR. AS A RESULT OF OUR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT REFORMS, ZAMBIA IS NOW RANKED 8TH IN AFRICA, 7TH IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, 5TH IN SADC AND 4TH IN COMESA IN TERMS OF THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS. FURTHERMORE, ZAMBIA IS RANKED THE 8TH MOST COMPETITIVE COUNTRY IN AFRICA ON THE GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX.IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SOUTH AFRICA IS ZAMBIA’S LARGEST TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNER. IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER THIS YEAR ALONE, TRADE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES WAS ESTIMATED AT US $ 430 MILLION. WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ZAMBIA-SOUTH BUSINESS COUNCIL, WE EXPECT THE TRADE VOLUMES TO INCREASE EVEN MORE IN A WIN-WIN SITUATION WITH THE ANTICIPATED INCLUSION OF MORE LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS IN VARIOUS ECONOMIC VALUE CHAINS. DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMENYOU WILL AGREE WITH ME THAT SEVERAL LARGE BUSINESSES HAVE USED THE BUSINESS COUNCILS AS A MEANS FOR INTEGRATING LOCAL MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AS WELL AS CO-OPERATIVES IN THEIR VALUE CHAINS. THEREFORE, THE NEED TO ENSURE LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS ARE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ECONOMIC VALUE CHAINS OF LARGE COMPANIES IN ZAMBIA BY DESIGNING APPROPRIATE CAPACITY BUILDING INTERVENTIONS CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED.IT IS IN THIS REGARD THAT I APPEAL TO THE BUSINESS COUNCIL TO PROMOTE MY GOVERNMENT’S AGENDA OF FOSTERING INCLUSIVE BUSINESS MODELS THAT ENSURE INTEGRATING LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAINS AND SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF LOCAL INDUSTRIES IN ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN ZAMBIA EXISTS IN VARIOUS SECTORS INCLUDING ENERGY, AGRICULTURE AND AGRO PROCESSING, MINING, TOURISM, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR, AMONG OTHERS. THEREFORE, I URGE YOU TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES THAT MY COUNTRY OFFERS. COME AND INVEST IN ZAMBIA AND WHILE CREATING WEALTH AND JOBS FOR THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE, YOU ALSO RECEIVE A FAVOURABLE RATE OF RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT.DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,IN CONCLUSION, I WISH TO REITERATE MY GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT IN DEVELOPING THE LOCAL INDUSTRY THROUGH FOSTERING INCLUSIVE BUSINESS MODELS. IT IS MY GOVERNMENT’S EXPECTATION THAT THE ZAMBIA-SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL WILL COMPLEMENT GOVERNMENT’S EFFORT IN PROMOTING TRADE AND INVESTMENT AND ULTIMATELY, PROVIDE THE MUCH NEEDED EMPLOYMENT.THE ZAMBIA HIGH COMMISSION IS HERE TO FACILITATE YOUR CONNECTION TO RELEVANT INSTITUTIONS THAT WILL OFFER INFORMATION AND SUPPORT AS YOU ENDEAVOUR TO VENTURE IN AND ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS IN ZAMBIA. I THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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