JERRY MUNTHALI, Shenzhen
PRESIDENT Lungu has facilitated the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Huawei Technologies Company Limited for the construction of communication towers in rural areas and off-grid power plants.
Government also signed an MoU with Huawei to train 10 Zambian students in information communication technologies (ICTs).
Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications permanent secretary Charles Sipanje signed the first MoU on ICT training for Zambia while Zesco managing director Victor Mundende signed the one on the construction of communication towers and off-grid power plants.
Huawei Technologies Zambia Limited managing director Fan Wen signed for his company.
Speaking during the signing ceremony here yesterday, Huawei International Zambia solutions manager Thandizo Banda said Huawei is aware that Zambia needs technical skills for economic development.
â€œThe intent of the MoU is to train the students for them to be able to train otherÂ Zambians,â€ Mr Banda said.
Earlier, President Lungu held a bilateral meeting with Huawei vice-president Dafeng Li.
â€œIt gives me a lot of pleasure to have a chance to meet you in your home town Shenzhen. This is the ICT centre of the world and that is why you are here because you are the leaders in that area,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He urged Huawei to provide skills to Zambians so that they can own the projects that the company is undertaking in Zambia.
â€œI know you are very secretive about trade secrets and that goes naturally. But as your partners, we should be allowed certain knowledge to operate independently.
â€œThere are some contracts you are executing for our people, which I must bring
to your attention which are dissatisfactory, going by the nature of complaints Zambians have echoed through their elected representatives in Parliament. In this regard,
I am talking about communication towers,â€ Mr Lungu said.
And Mr Dafeng said Huawei recorded profits amounting to US$46 billion, making it the best ICT company in the world.
Mr Lungu later met ZTE Corporation chairman Hou Weigui and Jilin Province director-general Cong Hongxia.
Mr Lungu told Mr Cong that Zambia heavily depends on agriculture.
â€œMost Zambians actually earn their living off the land, particularly in rural areas. Those constitute a very critical component of our people. They are the masses and
most of them are peasant farmers. We have an inescapable duty as leaders to look after them and we can only improve their lives if we train them in improved farming methods and value addition to their products through agro-processing,â€ President Lungu said.
The President also held talks with Communist Party of China (CPC) Shenzhen Municipal Committee secretary Ma Xingrui.
Mr Lungu congratulated Mr Ma on his election.
President Lungu said he is privileged to be the first one from outside China to call on Mr Ma since his election barely a week ago.
â€œYou have spoken elaborately about the history and development of Shenzhen, the insight will enable me and my ministers plan in what areas we want to engage in,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said Zambia and China have been great friends for over 50 years.
The President also thanked the Chinese government for sending a high-level delegation to Zambia during the golden jubilee independence anniversary celebrations in October last year.
He also reiterated that Zambia is now emphasising public-private partnerships so that the people can also participate in the economic development of the country.
JERRY MUNTHALI, Shenzhen