The South Sudan Peace process between the warring rival parties of President Salvir Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar has made positive progress.
Foreign Affairs Minister disclosed to ZANIS after holding closed-door bilateral talks with his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed in Nairobi today that a peace agreement is likely to be signed next month following the steady progress recorded so far.
Mr. Kalaba arrived in Nairobi, Kenya last night to hold bilateral talks and also get a brief on the South Sudan unity talks from Dr. Mohamed who is also Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
He said the Zambian government has been given a detailed report on the peace process in South Sudan which he will present to President Edgar Lungu.
During side meetings at the last ordinary summit of heads of states and government of the African Union in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in January, President Lungu held separate talks with both President Salvir Kiir and his former Vice President Mr. Machar who now leads the insurgents.
“All factors remaining constant, the peace agreement in South Sudan will be signed on 1st April so that the process can realise peace,” said Mr. Kalaba.
Mr. Kalaba is also scheduled to hold consultative talks on the South Sudan peace talks with his counterparts in Rwanda and Uganda who are actively involved in the negotiations as members of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region.
“As Zambia comes on board in this process, the government needs to consult heavily in Uganda, Rwanda and other countries as this will be helpful to her effective contribution,” noted Mr. Kalaba.
In another development, Mr. Kalaba has revealed that Rwandair is expected to launch its maiden flights into Lusaka on 27th March adding that his visit to that country will also seek to establish how best to further open up a trade corridor between the two countries.
He added that there were a lot of issues of common interest to be discussed between Zambia and Rwanda because the latter will be opening a mission in Zambia.
He said these plans will call for a smoothening of cooperation as the people of the two countries begin to integrate at various levels.
Earlier at a business community luncheon held in his honour at the Intercontinental Hotel, Mr. Kalaba appealed to Kenyan investors to take advantage of the conducive environment in Zambia and explore potential sectors for trade and investment that remain untapped.
He said there was huge potential for investment in the mining, energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors which the Kenyan private sector could finance through joint ventures, foreign direct investment, private equity and local listing on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LUSE).
“The government will offer investors various incentives that will facilitate for the growth of investment under the Zambia Development Agency Act which provides thresholds that have to qualify for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives,” Mr. Kalaba explained.
At the same luncheon, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Amina Mohamed said Kenya and Zambia have the intention, passion and commitment to improve on the cooperation foundations that were laid by the founding fathers of the two countries.
Dr. Mohamed said the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation between the two countries which will be held in June this year in Nairobi will be used as an opportunity to further interact with the business community to seek enhanced trade.
She noted that there was huge potential to enhance trade relations between Kenya and Zambia by improving the sectors identified during today’s bilateral talks adding that the trade balance skewed can be worked on and improved through the JPCC.