CAPE TOWN – 11TH FEBRUARY, 2015 – INDIA has called for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Zambia in the field of geology in order to harmonise structural cooperation in the mining sectors of the two countries.
Indian Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr. Narendra Tomar said in Cape Town on Tuesday that the MOU could also help forge stronger economic cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Tomar regretted that no such instrument was in place despite the long standing relations that have existed between Zambia and India.
He said his country believed that there was a lot of room for increasing cooperation in the field of trade and various other economic activities. The minister proposed that Zambia and India should explore the possibility of signing an MOU to specifically look at the area of geology which would allow the geological survey departments from the two countries establish stronger and defined working relations.
Mr. Tomar was speaking when he held talks with Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mrs. Margaret Mwanakatwe, in CapeTown. He was accompanied by Ministry of Mines Joint Secretary, Mr. Naresh Kumar; State Minister of Mines, Mr. Rajendra Shukla; India’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Mrs. Ruchi Ghanashyam; Chairman of the National Mineral Development Corporation of India, Mr. Narendra Kothari and senior officials from the Indian private sector.
The Zambian delegation led by Mrs. Mwanakatwe, comprised Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde; Director of Mines, Mr. Mooya Lumamba; Director of Mines Safety, Mr. Gideon Ndalama; Geological Survey Department Acting Director, Mr. Chipilauka Mukofu; Principal Documentalist, Ms. Bernadette Mwakacheya, and First Secretary for Economic and Trade at the Zambia High Commission in Pretoria, Mr. Mande Kauseni.
Mr. Tomar also bemoaned the fact that there has been no meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between Zambia and India since 2005 urging that efforts should be made to reactivate the practice.
The Minister also congratulated the Zambians for electing their sixth Republican President and hoped cooperation between the two countries will increase under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu.
He thanked Zambia for hosting several Indians who have established businesses while others had entered formal employment within Zambia.
Mr. Tomar invited Mrs. Mwanakatwe to India as part of efforts to strengthen relations.
In response, the Zambian minister noted that there was urgent need for the two countries to sign the MOU in order to strengthen relations. She said there were a number of areas of economic interest that Zambia and India could explore citing Information, Communication and Technology as one such possible field.
“We are meeting you with an open mind, and ready to work with you. Zambia is committed to forging long-term relations with India. India has huge interests in the area of mining in Zambia and we are ready to work with you so that those investments can succeed.”
“We are proud of being host to a number of Indians most of whom have integrated well in the Zambian society, You call them Indians but I call them Zambians because most of them speak our local languages better than I do,” Mrs. Mwanakatwe said.
She said government was in a hurry to ensure that development took root for the benefit of the people.
And High Commissioner Chikonde added that JPC’s were an important avenue through which cooperation could be enhanced. He pledged to pursue the matter through his Indian counterpart in Pretoria and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that JPC meetings between Zambia and India could resume taking into account the concerns and proposals made by Mr. Tomar.
Earlier on Monday and Tuesday, Mrs. Mwanakatwe held talks with various business executives seeking investment opportunities in Zambia. They included Vunani Resources, who are a South African-based equity investment firm, and African Legal Support Facility, a company that acts as agents for African governments in business arrangements. She also attended the annual Ministers and Ambassadors’ Luncheon hosted by Australia, an exhibition of African gemstones organised by Gemfields, and a breakfast meeting hosted by the Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies (AZMEC).
High Commission of Zambia – PRETORIA SOUTH AFRICA