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PRESIDENT Lungu and First Lady, Esther, being welcomed by his Angolan counterpart, Jose Eduardo dos Santos (left) at the Presidential Palace in the capital Luanda yesterday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE

I’ll work on Benguela Railway – Lungu

PRESIDENT Lungu says Zambia will spare no efforts to ensure that the Benguela Railway line is completed because it serves as a lifeline for Zambian and Angolan economies.
And President Lungu has assured his Angolan counterpart Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Zambia’s commitment to enhancing bilateral relations between the countries.
Mr Lungu said it is important the railway line is completed because it provides the much-needed link between the countries as identified by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) under the Lobito Corridor infrastructure initiative.
He said this when he addressed Angola’s National Assembly yesterday.
“It is in this regard that I was extremely pleased when my dear brother, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos extended an invitation to us to come and commission the Benguela Railway line,” Mr Lungu said.
He said infrastructural projects that hold the key to unlocking the vast potential that exist between Zambia and Angola have remained untapped.
President Lungu said trade between Zambia and Angola is constrained by poor infrastructure linking the two countries.
Mr Lungu said the conclusion of the bilateral air services agreement last year has allowed for commercial flights between Zambia and Angola and it is expected to increase the movement of people and goods.
The President has also pledged Zambia’s commitment to the fruitful completion of the Shangombo-Rivungo canal project.
Speaker of the Angolan National Assembly Fernando Da Piedade Dias Dos Santos said the House was greatly honoured to receive President Lungu to address its special session.
Mr Dos Santos said parliamentarians were happy that President Lungu chose Angola as one of the first countries to visit shortly after becoming Zambian President.
He said the Angolan parliamentarians were confident that Mr Lungu would take Zambia to higher levels of economic and political advancement.
Earlier, President Lungu held private talks with his Angolan counterpart Jose Eduardo Dos Santos at the presidential palace.
Later in the day, President Lungu visited the memorial site of Angolan founding President Antonio Agostinho Neto, where he laid a wreath.
And speaking during a State banquet held in his honour by Mr dos Santos in Luanda last night, President Lungu said: “As Zambia and Angola are endowed with immense natural resources, such as minerals, abundant water, wildlife and vast arable land, there is need to take advantage of these immeasurable resources for wealth creation.”
He said the two countries should, therefore, encourage its technocrats to effectively utilise the joint permanent commission and other co-operation frameworks to share experiences, information and exchange views on various Government interventions and policies that are designed to enhance the wellbeing of the two peoples.
The President also said Zambia is undertaking the modernisation and rehabilitation of health facilities as well as construction of new posts, roads, and schools, while increasing funding to the agricultural sector with the aim of ensuring national food security not only for Zambia, but the region as a whole.
Additional reporting by JIMMY CHIBUYE and KELVIN CHONGO