CHARLES CHISALA, Paris
PRESIDENT Lungu has told French investors that Zambia does not have a choice but to invest in alternative energy and has invited them to participate in the countryâ€™s drive to become southern Africaâ€™s major exporter of electricity.
The President has also challenged the investors in the agriculture sector to help Zambia eradicate animal diseases which have been retarding the growth of the livestock industry.
Mr Lungu said here on Tuesday that energy is life and that Zambia is looking for serious investors in France to help the country diversify to alternative sources of energy.
He was speaking with Syndicate of Renewable Energy, a consortium of companies engaged in alternative sources of energy, on the sidelines of the high-profile Movement of French Enterprises (MEDEF)-Zambia Business Forum in Paris, France.
â€œWithout energy there cannot be life. My Governmentâ€™s policy on energy is consistent with this meeting, and I am inviting you to come to Zambia and invest in this sector,â€ President Lungu said.
He said Zambia, like the rest of southern Africa, has recognised the importance of alternative sources of energy in the face of the poor rainfall it is receiving.
He said the COP21 summit in France has strengthened its resolve to move away from dependence on hydropower.
â€œZambia is suffering because 90 percent of energy is hydro and because of that we are experiencing the effects of El Nino which has caused poor rainfall,â€ President Lungu said.
And president of the Syndicate of Renewable Energy Jean Louis Bal told the President that following the successful COP 21, the syndicate has formed the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative aimed at achieving universal access to energy on the continent and is interested in establishing its presence in Zambia.
Mr Bal said already, some French companies have prequalified for solar energy tenders, which is a demonstration that they have identified Zambia as an important partner.
â€œWe are very interested in investing in renewable energy in Zambia and we are looking at financing and access to energy,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the President has challenged investors in Franceâ€™s agriculture sector to help Zambia eradicate animal diseases which have been retarding the growth of the livestock industry.
He said the agro industry in France can work with the Zambian government and private sector to eradicate endemic disease outbreaks in Western Province, which have escalated poverty levels.
The President said Zambia has received a request from some Middle East countries to supply about one million goats and sheep.
He said it is difficult for the country to deliver the animals because of diseases and inferior breeds.
President Lungu said Zambia is facing a huge challenge in developing the livestock sector because of diseases and lack of right breed of animals.
The President was speaking during a business luncheon hosted for him by the Association of International Exchanges in Agricultural and Agrifood Products (ADEPTA) after meeting the renewable energy consortium.
The President wrapped up his three-day visit to France to promote French investment in Zambia.
And VIOLET MENGO reports that President Lungu has described his official visit to the Vatican City and France as an eye-opener for Zambia to enhance its diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.
Speaking at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) shortly after his return from France yesterday, President Lungu described his visit to the Vatican City and France as an overwhelming success which has enhanced Zambiaâ€™s bilateral and economic relations.
â€œThe visit was basically aimed at enhancing bilateral and economic relations of Zambia and the European countries,â€ President Lungu said.
He further described his visit to the two European countries as a resounding success which has enhanced the countryâ€™s bilateral and economic relations.
The President was accompanied by First Lady Esther, special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba, Minister of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya and Patriotic Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri.
President Lungu was on a three-day official visit to France which culminated into the signing of six agreements in various sectors.
CHARLES CHISALA, Paris