ZAMBIA’s enhanced international relations under President Edgar Lungu have opened the floodgates for foreign direct investment which in turn will improve the outlook of the economy, the Youth in Action for Sustainable Development (YASD) has said.
Programmes manager Zebedy Lukwesa told the Daily Nation yesterday that the unprecedented development that the country has witnessed in the last year of the Patriotic Front (PF) first term in office has mainly been due to President Lungu’s efforts to lobby for investment from other countries through international engagements.
Mr. Lukwesa said the coming of 25 white farmers to Zambia with the prospect of investing in the agriculture sector and the striking of an oil deal with Saudi Arabia by President Lungu were among many undertakings
which the Head of State was involved in aimed at improving the economy through investments.
He noted that Zambia’s peaceful political environment was a catalyst for investment but selling the country to potential investors from outside through round-table discussions especially in his capacity as President had opened doors for investment from investors who otherwise would not have come to Zambia without proper information and assurance of the safety of their investment.
He said the bold steps taken by the Head of State to ignore the tantrums thrown at him by his critics that his trips outside the country were aimed at enriching himself through allowances were now bearing fruit. “Previously, our country’s international relations looked bleak because we lacked high level engagement and as a result, foreign direct investment suffered because there is no investor who will go to another country when they are not assured of the safety of their investments.
“However, President Lungu has changed that by engaging more at that high level with businessmen from other countries and this is how we have started receiving the much needed investments in various sectors. The coming of South African farmers with a view to invest in our agriculture and the striking of an oil deal in Saudi Arabia simply show that his engagements have not been in vain,” Mr. Lukwesa said.
He said it was sad that the same people who were criticising President Lungu were mute when investors came to Zambia as a result of the same trips they were criticising, saying there was need for people to be level-headed in their criticism by giving credit where it was due if the country was to move forward.
He said Third World countries were preoccupied with attracting meaningful development which would not only increase their revenue base through foreign exchange but also add value to their job market and that Zambia must continue to strive for more of such business undertakings to improve the economy.