By CHUSA SICHONE –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s foreign trips have continued yielding positive results, with his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2016 attracting a four-member Saudi delegation to Zambia to sign two multi-million dollar agreements.
The agreements are a US$100 million deal for the construction of the King Salman Specialist Hospital and an export activity programme deal with the Saudi Export Programme worth $5 million.
The delegation, that is in Zambia for three days, arrived at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka yesterday, led by Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) vice-chairperson Yusuf Al Bassam. Saudi Export Programme director-general Ahmed Al Ghannam is part of the crew.
Engineer Al Bassam said the visit to Zambia followed President Lungu’s trip to Saudi Arabia and that it was as a result of the excellent relations that existed between the two countries, and that SFD had been Zambia’s development partner for the past 30 years and was continuing on that path.
“We are very glad about our excellent cooperation and we are looking forward to more of support to Zambia’s development programme,” he said.
The Saudi Arabian delegation is expected to meet various Government officials, among other stakeholders, during the visit to discuss future cooperation activities.
Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary in charge of Economic Management and Finance Mukuli Chikuba, who welcomed the delegation, said SFD was one of Zambia’s long-term partners as it had been supporting the country in areas like health, education and road sectors.
Mr Chikuli also said that President Lungu’s visit to Saudi Arabia was now bearing fruit as evidenced by the coming of the delegation, besides disclosing that the deal to import fuel from Saudi Arabia was nearing completion.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ibrahim Mumba was also present at the airport and assured that the Salman Specialist Hospital would be top-class, especially that it was named after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdhulaziz.