Italians eye Zambia

ITALY has told President Edgar Lungu that its Government has embarked on an important initiative for Africa with particular interest in Zambia where they want to invest.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said this on Sunday evening during bilateral talks with the Zambian leader on the side-lines of the United Nations 70th General Assembly on post 2015 development agenda.

Mr Renzi said he had embarked on an important initiative with African countries but that he was particularly interested in discussions with Zambia.

“We want to discuss with you the spirit of cooperation, spirit of interaction, investment and to exchange ideas for the future “Mr Renzi said.

Mr Renzi said he was happy to meet Mr Lungu in the first official meeting between the two leaders but he was anxious to discuss with him about his country.

“Last month, Italy changed its approach to the manner it was dealing with particular countries in Africa. We have a particular interest in Zambia,” he said.

Mr Renzi is the 27th prime minister of Italy since the 2nd World war and he is serving the 63rd Government.

None of Mr Renzi’s predecessors have been to Sub Saharan Africa.

And President Lungu said Italy and Zambia have had a long standing partnership which needs to be boosted through continued cooperation.

Mr Lungu said he would be happy to see Mr Renzi visit Zambia so that the two countries could cement links and build on cooperation in various sectors of the economy.

“We would be very glad if you found time to come to Zambia and see for yourself where we can cement our links and build on our cooperation in various sectors of the economy, ” President Lungu said.

Mr Lungu said Zambia was ever grateful to Italy for the continued support it rendered in various sectors. “I note that Italy has rendered support to Agip and the Indeni Petroleum Refinery which is the fuel hub of the country as well as Zambia Airways which was the first airline after independence,” President Lungu said.

President Lungu also said Zambia and Italy had also shared a cultural history to the extent that some of the latter’s citizens had settled in Zambia.

The Zambian Head of State was accompanied to the bilateral talks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba, his permanent secretary Chalwe Lombe, Zambia’ s permanent representative to the United Nations Mwaba Kasese-Bota and his special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.