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Sata courts Swiss investors

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has urged the Swiss business community to venture into Zambia’s massive business opportunities while at the same time create stable employment opportunities for the locals.

Mr Sata has also called on the Swiss business community to partner with the Government to establish a national airline which would increse trade regionally and internationally.

Speaking during an interactive one hour meeting with the members of the Swiss African Business Circle at Inter-Continental Hotel in Geneva yesterday, Mr Sata said the Zambian Government was concerned with the high levels of unemployment.

He said many Africans opted to stay in the Diaspora in search for jobs which were not readily available in their respective countries.

“We want you to create permanent employment for Zambians when you come. There are a lot of Africans who are here because of unemployment,” he said.

Mr Sata urged the representatives of business organisations in Geneva to utilise the Africans who were working there in their quest to set up businesses in Africa as they knew well the challenges and were better equipped with the necessary skills.

The meeting was attended by various investors based in Geneva but from a number of countries including the United Kingdom, United States of America, Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal.

Mr Sata assured investors of a good investment climate in Zambia and that their assets would be protected by the legal frame work available.

“Zambia has a lot of advantages and we will guarantee that you do whatever you want to do with the dividends. In Zambia you make your money as long as it is genuine. We don’t mind what you do with it,” he said.

He urged the business executives to encourage Africans who were investing in developed countries to also invest in their countries as this would create high levels of confidence in the local markets.

He said he had in the last three weeks gone full throttle to encourage investors to go to Zambia hence his trips to Botswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and Geneva.

Mr Sata said investments were being sought in all sectors and that agriculture needed to be exploited the most.

“There are a lot of business opportunities in Zambia and we need to invest in the primary sectors as this has potential to reduce on high levels of unemployment,” he said.

He said his Government was determined to improve the economic situation as was evidenced by the drop in the inflation rate from eight per cent to the current 6.6 percent and this was expected to reduce even further.

President Sata appealed to investors to consider investing in the textile industry in Zambia by revamping Mulungushi Textiles.

Mr Sata’s delegation comprised Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Given Lubinda, Information, Broadcasting and Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Emmanuel Chenda and Information, Broadcasting and Labour Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga

Others were Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Encya Sinjela and Youth and Sport Permanent Secretary Agnes Musunga.

The meeting was also attended by Zambia’s trade union and employer representatives attending the International Labour conference.

Speaking during the same meeting, Mr Chenda urged investors to utilise Zambia’s huge arable land to embark on agriculture.

Mr Chenda said Zambia also had the largest water base in the SADC region as it had major rivers and lakes.

Mr Shamenda said Zambia had a steady workforce which was highly skilled and productive.

Mr Lubinda told the meeting that the tourism sector in Zambia needed to be fully exploited hence the coining of the theme “Let’s Explore Zambia” as a motto at the ministry of Tourism.

And speaking on behalf of the Swiss business community, Africa Emerging Capital Chairperson Anthony Travis said the consortium consisted of private sector business associations of small and large business organisations.

Mr Travis said the organisations had common business interests between the Swiss and Africans.

Meanwhile, Mr Travis said in an interview that he was interested in the airline project and would encourage his members on the possibility of establishing a national airline in Zambia. / times of zambia

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