Editor's Comment

President Lungu’s Japan trip worth it

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu (centre, back) witnesses the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Zambia, Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Elsewedy Electric. Signing the MoU is Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji (centre), Elsewedy president Ahmed El Sewedy (right) and Toyota Tshusho Corporation president Ichiro Kashitani in Yokohama, Japan, yesterday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has completed his tour of duty at the Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama.
This has been one of the best outings for President Lungu given the high profile of TICAD7, at which top African and Japanese business leaders held the first business-focused meeting.
TICAD7 saw Japan shift its strategic focus from government aid to promotion of investment as international competition for Africa grows.
TICAD 2019, which opened last Wednesday, was held under the theme ‘Advancing development in Africa through people, technology and innovation’.
It offered President Lungu an opportunity to sell Zambia as a destination of choice for investors, which he did.
Before leaving for Japan, President Lungu said Zambia is expected to benefit from the US$3 million grant from Japan in the health sector.
He said the grant will be facilitated through one of the memorandums of co-operation signed during the just-ended TICAD summit.
The memorandum of co-operation was signed under the Africa health and well-being.
The other memorandum of co-operation signed on the sidelines of TICAD was under peace and stability in Africa.
The President joined other African leaders during the plenary session of the (TICAD) in stating the case for investment in Africa and, in particular, why individual countries should attract investors.
The theme for the session was ‘Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector development’.
In President Lungu’s words, “the Zambian government recognises that we cannot accelerate economic transformation, and improve the economy as fast as we would like to if we do not have the pre-requisite economic infrastructure.”
President Lungu told investors that time for talking was over because Zambia needs investment now.
On the sidelines of the TICAD7, President met Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) president Shinichi Kataoka, who paid a courtesy call on him.
JICA will build a dry port in Chipata, apart from working on the Luangwa Bridge, the gateway to eastern Zambia.
President Lungu asked the investors what they were waiting for because Zambia was ready.
The President later met the International Monetary Fund Department of Africa director Abebe Aemro Selassie.
He also met Ashok Leyland chairman Prajash Hinduja, who has pledged to open an Ashok Leyland plant in Zambia.
The President also discussed investment in railways with Mitsui deputy general manager Shusaku Okamura, who paid a courtesy call on him.
The President met Techno Brain representative Antonio Poncioni Merian, who said his company was already working with governments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through providing it with solutions to their ministries of Finance.
TICAD has grown into one of the largest Africa-focused international events and provided a platform for billions worth partnerships and transactions to be sealed.
Wednesday saw the signing of two memorandums of understanding for Solar PV power stations between Toyota Tsusho and the Ministry of Energy.
The power stations will be built in Western Province.
It is clear that the President’s tour at the TICAD7 was worth it as it helped fulfil Government’s strategic objectives at a time the country needs economic rejuvenation.
It is, therefore, unfair for some sections of society to criticise the President’s trips, which are earning the country huge investments now and in the future.

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