By STEVEN ZANDE –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has hailed the warm relations that exist between Zambia and Ethiopia as the two countries signed bilateral agreements to further deepen trade and cooperation.
Mr Lungu said the cordial relations that the two States enjoyed were based on common values such as peace and mutual understanding.
“We are interested in deepening existing bilateral relations so that we can achieve economic growth for the wellbeing of people in both our countries,” the President said.
Mr Lungus said this at State House yesterday when he held bilateral talks with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
He said the Government was keen to strengthen relations with the Eastern African nation in efforts to forge stronger ties in trade and other areas of cooperation.
The President said Zambia was committed to promoting peace to help achieve a peaceful and stable Africa.
Mr Lungu said he was confident that despite the challenges which Ethiopia had faced in the past, the nation was poised for further development.
Meanwhile, Zambia and Ethiopia have signed one cooperation agreement and two memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
The agreement covers the field of communication, information and media and was signed off by Information Minister Mulenga Kampamba on behalf of Zambia while Negeri Lencho who is Ethiopian Government Minister, signed for his country.
Ms Kampamba, in an interview, said the agreement would enhance media content exchange programmes between the two countries and help build capacities of media players in both States.
The MoU was on cooperation in the fields of water, resource management, irrigation and energy.
Water Development, Sanitation and Environment Protection Minister Lloyd Kaziya signed on behalf of Zambia while Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister Seleshi Bekele represented his country.
The second MoU was on chamber of commerce and industry and sectoral associations.
Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) vice president Andrew Sinyangwe signed on behalf of Zambia, while Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations president Elias Geneti signed for his country.
Mr Sinyangwe said in a separate interview that the MoU would help boost trade between Zambia and Ethiopia and contribute to the Government’s economic diversification programme.
He said this was because Ethiopia had developed a thriving agricultural sector despite that nation having poor soils and bad weather conditions and that Zambian farmers would learn best practices through the anticipated exchange programmes.