Japan sends debt advisors to Zambia

Japan sends debt advisors to Zambia


JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country will assist Zambia in its effort to ensure debt sustainability and has since sent an expert to the Ministry of Finance to achieve that goal.

President Edgar Lungu yesterday held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Abe and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Prime Minister Abe has asked for Zambia’s support for a Japanese candidate for judge at the United Nations.

President Lungu thanked the Prime Minister Abe for Japanese support to Zambia in education, health, water and sanitation, transport, energy, refugee welfare and resettlement of former refugees.

He also acknowledged Japan’s support in agriculture and fisheries, infrastructure development, sports, private sector development, and the National Kaizen Project.

President Lungu applauded the work of Japanese volunteers and various non-governmental organisations from Japan who continue to contribute positively to the lives of Zambians.

He underscored the need to increase and diversify trade between the two countries beyond copper and motor vehicles currently being traded.

President Lungu called for increased Japanese investment to Zambia, which currently comprises Toyota, Hitachi and Kansai Paint.

He also thanked Japan for the grant aid of 500 million Yen for the procurement of equipment to the University of Zambia’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

He further expressed gratitude for the recent grant of US$3 million for the procurement of health centre kits.

President Lungu congratulated Japan for winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, and looked forward to Zambia’s participation in the games.

Prime Minister Abe said Japan and Zambia were like-minded and even if there were different approaches to arriving at solution, the two countries must find common ground.

He said 32 Zambian students have benefitted from the Abe Initiative.

And speaking during the Public-Private Business Dialogue Session of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) at Pacifico Yokohama on Thursday, Prime Minister Abe said a country that is deeply indebted “is a country difficult for you to penetrate into.”

“We will choose ten priority countries each year for the next three years, for a total of thirty countries, and provide their officials with training in sovereign debt and risk management,” he said. “To Ghana and Zambia, we will send advisors on debt management and macroeconomic management.”

Prime Minister Abe said it was one thing to foster human resources, while another was to provide quality infrastructure.

“And yet another is making it easy to access capital,” he said.

“JOGMEC, the trade insurance company NEXI, and JICA all make use of local resources to provide you with finance that’s user-friendly.”

Prime Minister Abe said the government of Japan also had a role to play in enhancing agricultural competitiveness, “an important area for Africa.”

“Japan has a great many agricultural specialists who have been instrumental in assisting our own local governments,” he said.

“They will jump at the opportunity to put their skills to work in order to help Africa. Those are the kinds of people who will be heading to local communities from now.”

Prime Minister Abe said by 2030, through cooperation with various countries, Japan hoped to double the current production of rice in the whole of Africa to 56 million tonnes.

“This is my third TICAD. I now see that you sit behind the wheel, which is most encouraging. In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the rankings on the ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues expanding. We can envision a day when the entire continent becomes an enormous economic zone,” he said. “The AU [African Union] has a highly ambitious long-term plan, with its target year set in 2063. For anyone now in your 20s, that’s a future realisable within your own goals. As you turn your eyes to Africa – to the land of potential – I wholeheartedly wish that you make the greatest leap in the continent.”

Meanwhile, President Lungu has tasked his ministers to ensure implementation of all agreements signed with Egypt.

Speaking when he met President Sisi, the President said all areas of joint cooperation, including agriculture should be attended to.

And President Sisi said close supervision was key if projects were to be implemented.

“The Joint Commission is significant for promotion of cooperation. Let’s prepare all areas of mutual interest,” President Sisi said, according to a statement issued by Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe.

The Egyptian President also proposed cooperation in counter terrorism.

President Lungu proposed more trade among African states and wondered why African States should wait for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to learn about each other’s potential.

“l don’t need to come to TICAD to learn about other countries, so let us intensify bilateral trade and follow up on agreements,” President Lungu said.

Meanwhile, President Sisi asked the Zambian government to provide samples of wood with a promise that Egypt could stop importing wood from Europe if Zambia provided the right products.

Egypt spends billion importing wood.

President Lungu directed foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji and commerce minister Christopher Yaluma, who were in the meeting, to follow up the request with ZAFFICO.

Source : THE MAST