Zambia, EU sign deals to foster growth

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Banner 3” class=”f”>Zambia Daily Mail by Online Editor on 6/19/13

Finance-Minister-Alexander-ChikwandaBy CAROLINE KALOMBE
GOVERNMENT and the European Union (EU) have signed three contracts worth 135.2 million euros aimed at fostering development and economic growth in Zambia.
The contracts are for the rehabilitation of the Great East Road from Luangwa Bridge to Mwami border in Chipata valued at 118.6 million euros and a memorandum of understanding for scaling up conservation farming at a cost of 11.1 million euros.
The third contract is a 5.5 million euros financing agreement for capacity building for non-state actors.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda signed on behalf of Government while EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs signed for the commission at a ceremony held in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Mr Chikwanda said the EU’s support to Zambia has been demand-driven and has helped to reduce poverty and improve the general well-being of the people.
“The EU has been carrying out its business of development through close collaboration with local implementing agencies,” he said.
He assured EU donor countries that the finances given to Zambia will be put to good use to ensure that they benefit all Zambians.
Mr Chikwanda said the PF government believes in fiscal discipline which ensures that financial resources are directed to the right projects.
“This government is for fiscal responsibility and we know that the reason why most countries fail to develop is because of the misdirection of resources which derails development,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda said the government is committed to increasing productivity in a bid to enhance economic growth.
He also said there is need to improve the energy sector, which is one of the key drivers of economic growth.
Mr Chikwanda said the government needs about US$220 million to rehabilitate Kariba Dam, which if not worked on will result in loss of the infrastructure.
He appealed to the EU to assist Zambia in developing sustainable hydro-power generation and transmission infrastructure in the country.
And Mr Piebalgs commended the government for the achievements it has made in developing the country.
Mr Piebalgs said Zambia is a hub of economic activity which has been necessitated by the peace and Government’s good policies.
He said the EU will continue supporting critical sectors which will bring about sustainable development and economic growth in Zambia.
Mr Piebalgs said the energy sector is a critical component of development as every citizen has the right to sustainable energy.
He said Zambia has the potential to increase its energy generation capacity and transmission which is important for regional trade and integration.