By Wallen Simwaka in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he is determined to make Zambia energy and food secure and is currently in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to explore ways of attracting investors from the Middle East in agriculture and the energy sector, the presidency has said.
Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda told journalists here yesterday that President Lungu’s vision was to make Zambia energy and food secure by focusing diversification in the country’s economy following the recent global
economic recession that saw the country suffer from acute power deficit.
Mr Chanda said President Lungu was happy that King Salman Abdullaziz Al Saud had taken the lead in bringing the Saudi Arabian investors to Zambia whose main interest would be in the energy and agriculture sectors. Mr Chanda said President Lungu’s emphasis while in Saudi Arabia would be investment in agriculture.
The Zambian Government was already creating farming blocks in Central Province and 100 000 hectares of land had been earmarked in each province for foreign investment.
He disclosed that intensive high level discussions between the Zambian Embassy here and the Government of Saudi Arabia were aimed at wooing investment into the agriculture sector.
He said President Lungu would soon be announcing the levels of investment in agriculture and when the investors would start coming to Zambia.
“President Lungu arrived here in the Royal Kingdom Saudi Arabia yesterday (Monday) and immediately started his State visit. His key focus is to emphasise the most important things that matter to his presidency which include agriculture and energy so that there is energy and food security and also promote diversification.
“The President is emphasising on bilateral relations in the energy sector as well as inviting Saudi Arabian investors in the agriculture sector. The King himself is taking the lead in bringing investors to Zambia and this is a practical step of taking investors into central Zambia,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said the other sector President Lungu was promoting was tourism as well as trade agreements that would be signed between Zambia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Mr Chanda said while President Lungu appreciated investment from other parts of the world such as Europe and Asia, he (President Lungu) found it prudent to attract investment from the Middle East.
“This is the first State visit at the level of the Head of State and that is why the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the level of the King has accorded the Royal Protocols to President Lungu.
“The Royal Protocols to any Zambian had only occurred three times with the first being accorded to the First Lady, Esther Lungu, first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda. The highest Royal protocol to any Zambian Head of State is what has been accorded to President Lungu,” Mr Chanda said.