CHARLES CHISALA, Paris
PRESIDENT Lungu has invited French investors in Africa to come to Zambia and see for themselves the countryâ€™s vast investment opportunities in the various sectors of the economy.
And French investors have described what they heard during their meeting with President Lungu as â€œgood newsâ€ and promised to come to Zambia this year to explore investment opportunities.
The President said here yesterday that Zambia is one of the best and safest investment destinations in Africa and challenged the investors to take advantage of the countryâ€™s geographical location at the crossroads of three regional blocs.
These are the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East Africa Community (EAC).
President Lungu was speaking when he met selected members of the French Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN) at Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, France.
The President was accompanied by Minister of Energy and Water Development Dora Siliya, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba.
The Presidentâ€™s special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) executive director Patrick Chisanga and other government officials were also in the delegation.
The CIAN team was led by its chairman, Alexandre Vilgrain.
â€œI am urging you to mobilise your members to come to Zambia, see for yourselves and explore investment opportunities available in our country,â€ President Lungu said.
â€œYour investment in Zambia is not only for the Zambian market but for Africa as well.â€
The meeting, which started shortly after 08:00 hours, lasted for one hour.
The President assured the investors that his Governmentâ€™s interventions will be through measured fiscal and monetary instruments to correct market distortions that may threaten overall economic stability.
President Lungu urged the investors to ignore the misinformation being circulated by some media houses and hear from him because he is the head of State.
â€œSo forget some misguided distortions in some media outlets because you are listening to me as head of State. I oversee the entire economy and so I stand here as the countryâ€™s number-one salesman,â€ he said.
The President said he looks forward to seeing the French investors in Zambia and cherish the opportunity of doing business with them.
He outlined a number of comparative advantages that Zambia has over other African countries, the major one being political stability and open market economic policies.
He offered the investors a win-win situation where they make a reasonable return on their investment while his Government develops the country and improves the lives of the people.
â€œMy belief is that any meaningful investment must result in the uplifting of peopleâ€™s welfare through equitable wealth distribution,â€ President Lungu said.
And Mr Vilgrain described President Lunguâ€™s presentation as good news because it has given the investors an accurate picture of the investment climate in Zambia.
â€œWhat we heard from the President is good news to us investors. The problem in the past was that many French investors in Africa did not know how to find partners to do business with in Zambia.
â€œBut the Presidentâ€™s presentation was very good. I am coming to Zambia this year with some of my colleagues to come and look at areas of interest where we can invest,â€ Mr Vilgrain said.
President Lungu is in Paris, France, on a three-day visit to promote Zambia as an attractive investment destination and hold bilateral talks with President Francois Hollande.
He arrived on Saturday and will tomorrow afternoon leave for Lusaka.
CHARLES CHISALA, Paris