LUSAKA- 31ST JANUARY, 2016 – GOVERNMENT is happy that President Edgar Lungu’s foreign visits are yielding quick results for the country.

Speaking when she met a high-powered delegation from South Africa today, Commerce, Trade & Industry Permanent Secretary, Ms. Kayula Siame said she was happy that the state visit to South Africa by President Edgar Lungu was already yielding quick benefits for the country.

Ms. Siame has also applauded the Zambian High Commission in South Africa for its coordinated efforts that have resulted in the high-powered trade mission to Zambia.

She said the business trip was a direct outcome of discussions by President Edgar Lungu and his counterpart, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

During his visit to South Africa, President Lungu said that Zambia had taken the Energy Sector as a priority as it was key to Zambia’s industrialisation agenda.

Ms. Siame indicated that Zambia had several projects that needed feasibility study funds to move projects to fruition.

She said Zambia welcomed investment partnerships locally and those coming from abroad to realise the energy projects.

In response, Department of Trade in South Africa, Loreto Mataboge disclosed that the South African government had allocated funds for feasilibility studies.

Ms. Mataboge said Zambia stood to benefit from such funds in partnership with South African firms.

The high powered energy group is in Zambia to explore energy investment opportunities.

On Monday, 30th January, 2016, the delegation met Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Director-General, Mr. Patrick Chisanga and his team.

Mr. Chisanga said: “We are impressed with the calibre of companies from the South African energy sector represented here today. We would like to task the delegation leaders to revert to us with concrete outputs from this mission”.

Mr Chisanga also thanked the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria for their continued efforts to promote Zambia as a good investment destination. He said this is evidenced by the fact that this was the third time in a short space of time that First Secretary for Economics and Trade, Mr. Mande Kauseni, was leading a trade mission from South Africa to Zambia.

The trade mission is jointly organised by Trade Invest Africa (TIA) and the South African Electrotechnical Export Council (SAEEC). It is a sector-specific mission to Lusaka focussed on meeting with various public and private organisations in the Zambian Energy Sector.

The Mission aims to facilitate market access and unlock investment opportunities in the Zambian energy sector in response to the deficit in generation capacity, transmission line roll-out and universal access to electricity. It follows the inaugural South Africa-Zambia Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) held in Pretoria in December 2016, on the margins of the State Visit by President Lungu. During the JCC the two countries committed to collaborate in unlocking trade and investment opportunities for mutual benefit.

On Monday 30th January, the South African delegation, which comprises AAB, Actom, Conco, CONLOG, Pfiserer, Powertech Transformers, Rethuseng Live Line Services, Thyssen Krupp and Trans Africa Projects, held discussions with ZCCM-Investment Holdings and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).

Today the delegation will continue engagements with the Rural Electrification Authority, Copperbelt Energy Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia.

A key component to the trade mission has been the inclusion of the South African financial institutions namely the Export Credit Insurance Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa.

Ms. Mataboge pointed out that TIA, a division of the South Africa Department of Trade and Industry, had responded to the call of South African business to ensure that trade missions be sector-focussed and include financiers.

Ms Mataboge said: “Trade Invest Africa is keen to support this sector-led approach to trade missions. Together with the development financial institutions, we have also encouraged the delegates to focus their attention on not just discussing business but identifying specific projects, so that we can progress to the next level of engagement with business. Our role is to co-ordinate and drive implementation of South Africa’s economic strategy for the entire continent, premised on the developmental integration approach, through close collaboration with the private sector. African financial institutions with their developmental approach to investment are therefore a pivotal part of our strategic approach to intra Africa trade and investment”

Also commenting on the innovative approach to doing business on the African continent, Ms Chiboni Evans the CEO of SAEEC said that South African firms in the Electrotechnical sector were partners of choice in enabling Africa meet the needs of Africa.

“As stated earlier today by Mr Pius Kasolo the CEO of ZCCM-IH we need to start trusting in our own solutions as Africans. Africa has product and service solutions together with financial resources from both the private and public sector to resolve a significant number of our infrastructure build challenges”.

The mission leaders are optimistic that this innovative approach to doing business will result in positive results to both the Zambian and South African economies. A follow up to this energy and project focused mission would be the participation of the various public and private sector institutions from both Zambia and South Africa in the upcoming Africa Energy Indaba to be held in Johannesburg from 22-24 February 2017.