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Implement deals, ministers told

PRESIDENT Lungu flanked by Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba (right) and Energy Minister Dora Siliya (left) addresses French Investors during the MEDEF France - Zambia Business Forum at MEDEF Headquarters in Paris, France yesterday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/ STATE HOUSE

CHARLES CHISALA, Paris
PRESIDENT Lungu has directed ministers to ensure the deals he has clinched during his official visit to France are quickly actualised for Zambians to begin to benefit from them.
On Monday, the President’s three-day visit to Paris culminated into the signing of six agreements covering various sectors.  More deals were expected yesterday.
The President said here yesterday that the ministers should expedite the implementation of all the economic partnerships, investment pledges and agreements that have resulted from his tour of duty.
He was speaking to journalists in Paris after attending the Movement of French Enterprises (MEDEF) – Zambia Business Forum.
“There is a shift to economic diplomacy because we want to open up Zambia to foreign investment. There are a number of agreements emerging out of this trip in energy, agriculture, tourism and other sectors,” the President said.
He said economic diplomacy will lead to the creation of employment for Zambians.
“It is now the job of ministers to expedite the actualisation of these deals,” President Lungu said.
He said he would like to see Zambia not only as an investment destination but also a springboard for investment into the rest of Africa.
“We are in a hurry to develop Zambia. The ministers should now conclude these agreements to actualise them,” President Lungu said.
He said as he indicated at his first press conference in November last year, the government will tread carefully on the establishment of a national airline because of competing priorities.
President Francois Hollande of France on Monday promised to help Zambia establish a national airline with the help of aviation giant Airbus.
“As I have said before, we will not rush, the process is ongoing. We will move slowly so that we don’t disrupt the economy,” President Lungu said.
He said the government has not abandoned the project because it would like to make Zambia an air-linked country as the hub of southern Africa, but that it is only being careful.
President Lungu was flanked by Minister of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya and Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe.
After the short briefing, the President went to attend a side meeting dedicated to renewable energy with two business executives of companies specialising in the sector.
Later, the President attended a luncheon hosted by the Association of International Exchanges in Agricultural and Agrifood Products and Techniques at Le Meurice Hotel.
The President was scheduled to leave for Lusaka at 21:25 hours.
He was in France at the invitation of President Francois Hollande.

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