9 July 2010

Zambia: State, Brazil Seal Deals to Reduce Hunger

Zambia and Brazil have signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in the fields of bio-fuels production and food services aimed at reducing hunger in the two countries.

Brazil has pledged to invest US$200,000 towards achieving the MoUs.

Zambia would not provide any financial assistance as its contribution would be in kind.

The signing of the MoU was held at State House where President Rupiah Banda and his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva met and witnessed the signing of other nine MoUs and agreements aimed at enhancing bilateral trade between the two nations.

The food and nutritional services MoU was meant to reduce hunger to zero in the two nations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande signed on behalf of Zambia while Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Celso Amorim signed on behalf of his country.

The MoU on the production of bio-fuels would see the two countries share exchanges in the production of bio-fuels as well as building capacity for some Zambians.

The two countries further signed the visa exemption agreement which would enable holders of diplomatic passports to be exempted from obtaining visas when travelling in the two countries.

Another agreement was signed in the health sector whose objective would be to train the capacity of health personnel in Zambia as well as the complementary agreement to implement the project strengthening of the national strategic plan for HIV/AIDS.

The two countries also signed an agreement of cooperation in sport, which would result in regular visits in the two countries for sports administrators.

A complementary agreement on technical cooperation to implement the project training and capacity building for health professionals at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and an agreement in the education sector, was also signed which would culminate in students exchanges and research.

They also signed the agreement on remunerations for staff at the embassies in the two nations.

Speaking during the signing ceremony for the agreements and MoUs, President Banda bemoaned the low volumes of trade between the two countries.

"Admittedly, the volume of trade between our two countries is at the moment quite low. However, there is great scope for improving our trade relations," President Banda said.

The president recalled that many countries were recovering from the effects of the global economic recession which Zambia managed to weather and managed to record over six per cent economic growth and inflation going down to a single digit.

Mr Banda said the country plans to consolidate on the achievements recorded last year.

He was happy that Brazil, as a member of the G-20 was providing a voice for developing countries during international conferences.

The president was also happy with the cordial relations that have existed between Zambia and Brazil for many years and that he was inspired by the economic gains that Brazil had recorded.

President da Silva said the relationship between the two countries had been cemented following the opening of diplomatic offices in Brazil and Zambia.

"The presence of ambassadors in our two countries is a demonstration of increased relationship between the two countries and I am proud to say that I see Zambia grow," President da Silva said.

Developed countries were facing financial difficulties and if that situation was in Africa or any developing country, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank would have been heaping the blame on leadership in developing countries.

"When the crisis is in Zambia or Brazil, then we are choked up by the IMF to teach us what we should do. Now the crisis is happening in developing countries, the IMF is mute. The emerging economies and developing countries are sound and the so called rich countries are in problems."

He urged the Zambian government to concentrate on electrifying the rural areas as that was one of the priorities of his country.

Zambia needed to invest in the social welfare sector and ensure that only deserving recipients benefit from the scheme.

Such schemes, he said would help in the fight against poverty.

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