Editor's Comment

India deals must bear fruit

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu on arrival in New Delhi, India. He was welcomed by that country’s Minister in charge of Africa Murli DHARAN yesterday. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATE HOUSE

DURING his inauguration in 2016, President Edgar Lungu made it emphatically clear that he wants to leave this country better than he found it.
In his bid to do so, President Lungu has during his tenure so far put emphasis on economic diplomacy and cooperation as one of the major ways to accelerate development.
President Lungu is cognisant of the fact that Zambians live in a global world in which cooperation is a must for those who seek serious development.
Needless to say, no matter how rich in natural resources any country may be, it cannot develop without the help of other countries.
Countries need to collaborate, share ideas and support one another. However, such collaborations can only be possible if there are mutual and cordial relations between and among countries.
It is good that under the leadership of President Lungu, Zambia is doing well in fostering diplomatic ties with other countries.
This should not be taken for granted or as an easy achievement. It takes great effort and tact to succeed.
What is even more commendable is that, as opposed to political diplomacy, Zambia has shifted with times to embrace economic diplomacy.
Government has been working to ensure that it taps into the reservoir of knowledge, resources, skills and technologies of other countries, especially those that are more advanced.
The President’s visit to India together with a high powered business delegation reaffirms Government’s commitment to ensure that it reaps economic benefits from its international ties.
It is encouraging that from India the Zambian delegation is not coming back empty-handed.
The delegation which includes the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), signed eight deals in various areas of cooperation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji signed MoUs on cooperation in defence and security, arts and culture, diplomacy, and health.
Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Esau Chulu signed the MoU on elections, while Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa signed the agreement on mining and geology.
The IDC signed an MoU with Sanjoo Dyeing and Printing Private Limited aimed at establishing a modern, competitive and efficient textile company to process local cotton lint and produce garments and by-products.
The IDC signed another MoU with Ashok Leyland to create a long-term commercial and industrial partnership to establish a truck and bus assembly plant to take Zambia’s automobile and mechanisation to international standards.
These MoUs, when implemented, will no doubt help the country in its efforts to attain the middle-income status and Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
India is known for its robust health system which has made medical tourism a major source of income for the country.
Zambia will certainly benefit from India through investments and skills transfers in the health sector.
Establishing a textile company and a truck and bus assembly plant is good for the economy as it will contribute to job creation and revenue generation.
The companies will help boost government coffers through tax obligations and exports of finished products.
The textile company will also enhance agriculture by providing a readily available market for cotton growers.
The MoUs once implemented will also help the country towards solidifying its manufacturing base.
It is good that all the MoUs are in tandem with the country’s 7th National Development Plan, which seeks to diversify and industrialise the economy.
It is indisputable that the delegation to India has clinched good deals which must be nurtured to fruition at all costs.
It will be unfair to the Zambian people to allow such good deals to gather dust on shelves in people’s offices.
This is why President Lungu is calling for the revival of meetings of the Zambia-India Joint Permanent Commission to ensure effective implementation of agreed areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Those charged with the responsibility of implementing these MoUs must work hard to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

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