From KAIKO NAMUSA in Maputo, Mozambique -
BILATERAL relations between Zambia and Mozambique have reached the highest levels, with the leaders of both countries committing to increase trade through extended cooperation in key economic sectors. The focus between the two countries is to spearhead cooperation in agriculture, with value-addition to local products being the main target, energy, transport and communication sectors. President Edgar Lungu, who is here for a two-day State visit which started on Thursday and is ending today, met with his host Filipe Nyusi at the Presidential office for private talks and signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to provide a framework for trade. Mozambique’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Oldomino Baloi and his Zambian counterpart, Harry Kalaba, spoke on behalf of the two Heads of State during a Press briefing after the talks had concluded. Mr Baloi said the visit by President Lungu epitomised the long history of friendly ties, dating as far back as the pre-independence period. “Political ties are at the highest level. We share a long history of friendliness. “Zambia contributed to our liberation and it is important that our trade relations should be fluid to benefit both countries,” he said. Mr Baloi said the energy sector was, in his country, blossoming despite the acute power crisis in the region, and that once it expanded through increased investment, power availability could be eased in the region. The development of the Nacala Corridor, a joint venture involving Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, was another avenue that could help resolve the trade challenges facing the three neighbouring countries. This also applied to the Port of Beira, which Zambia and Mozambique believe could be the easiest gateway to accessing the Indian Ocean to increase trade volumes. Mr Kalaba said the meeting between the two leaders was cordial, and that both countries shared similar visions to empower their people. He called for best practices in improving sectors such as agriculture to bolster exports of finished products. “We need to invest in production for both countries so that we could emancipate our people,” he said. Mr Kalaba thanked Mozambique for supplying 15,000 tonnes of cashew nut seed to Zambia, which would open up a new investment in the country, with Government already seeking to improve the crop’s performance in areas such as Western Province. President Lungu and President Nyusi shared similar thoughts of fully utilising the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) as a key driver to improving economic, political and trade relations, as both countries looked towards a new horizon of stronger ties. Mr Lungu shifted base to Nacala, in the northern region of Mozambique, ahead of today’s inauguration of the Nacala power sub-station, where the Kapowership is docked. Earlier in the day, President Lungu paid a courtesy call on that country’s National Assembly Speaker, Veronica Macamo, and held private talks before proceeding to lay wreaths at the Mozambique Heroes Monument, to remember the fallen heroes.