President Hakainde Hichilema says the current 1.6 billion Euros investment which Zambia has attracted from companies in the European Union (EU) is not sufficient compared to the vast potential in that region.
President Hichilema has since set a new target of 5 billion Euros investment for the country.
He stated that Zambia has a lot to tap from the huge investment opportunities in the European Union market.
He urged the European Union to open up its markets saying it has been a challenge for Zambian businesses to access them.
“Zambia has attracted several EU companies with an estimated investment of 1.6 billion Euros in energy, environmental services, construction engineering services and agriculture among others. Honestly speaking 1.6 billion Euros? Europe is a giant in economic terms and I am not convinced that 1.6 billion Euros is something to be proud of. We should work at a target to triple this figure to a minimum 5 billion Euros over a period of time,” he said.
The President was speaking in Lusaka today when he officially opened the first ever EU-Zambia economic forum.
President Hichilema emphasised that increased trade is critical for the economic growth of any country hence his government’s commitment to ensure that the business environment is favourable for trade and investment in the country.
He further stressed the importance of having good and stable policies in the business environment for both local and international trade to thrive.
And the President said the business community should avoid aggression towards each other as they play a major role in helping the government address major social problems like job creation.
The President said Zambia has an added advantage of having a stable political environment, which should be protected to attract more local and foreign investments.
He said this peaceful environment should translate into job creation and improved trade.
The Head of State further expressed optimism that the meeting will yield positive results for the country in the form of business transactions, new projects and increased investments in the country.
The inaugural Zambia-EU economic forum is a two day forum themed: Economic Transformation through Green Growth” and has attracted delegates from both the local and foreign business communities.
The President has described the theme of the forum as a perfect fit to the country as it is in tandem with government’s commitment to encourage green growth as evidenced by the creation of the first ever Ministry of Green Economy.
“The theme for this forum is so fitting. Hand in glove with our own thought process that we must grow our economy but without damaging the environment for the future generations,” he stated