H.E. Hon. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia;
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to be with you this morning, for this, the 51st Zambia International Trade Fair. A little like our own annual trade fairs back in Kenya, the Fair has served to introduce Zambia to Africa and the world; and the world to Zambia. Your hospitality has made that exchange a deeply pleasant, pan-African process. I thank you, and I thank the government and people of Zambia for their welcome.
Our two nations have much in common: we have a long history of resistance to colonial domination; and a recent history of firm commitment to the prosperity and freedom of every African on the continent. It is that spirit of devotion to the cause of solidarity, which animated our 9th Session of the Kenya–Zambia Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) in Nairobi last month. Discussion ranged widely, but we agreed to renew our commitment to participate in international trade fairs held in both countries; we also agreed to remove the remaining barriers to trade; and to sign a number of cooperation agreements. That is a reflection of the strength of our ties and our history, as well as our conviction that, in the end, our continent’s economic emancipation depends on close ties between us.
We recognize that necessity, and with it, we recognize an opportunity: the trade statistics only reflect the situation today; they are not a true reflection of the potential in both countries for. So it is mine to call upon officers on both sides to work extra hard to put together the frameworks and instruments whose signing will open up opportunities for robust trade between the two countries.
For we know that, in the modern world, international trade and investment is the main driver of the whole range of international relations. That is why Kenya is hosting a Global Entrepreneurship Conference later this month, to which we have invited a very wide range of guests. We trust you will make time to join us for the conference, given our old friendship, our long ties, and the opportunities that are certain to present themselves.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We too, are regulars at Zambian events: Kenya regularly participates in the Zambia International Trade Fair. It is fair to say that it has established itself as the shop window for Zambia’s products, as well as a showcase for the region’s products. This year, twelve Kenyan companies from a wide range of sectors are exhibiting their products; they will, I am sure, forge the links that will strengthen them in growth and production.
Equally, Kenya has several annual shows and fairs that Zambia might wish to visit, there to market its products to consumers in Kenya and the East Africa. I would be glad if you joined us. In fact, it is my pleasure to invite Zambia’s business community to participate in this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair, scheduled for the 28th September to 4th October 2015. The Nairobi Fair is the largest in the East Africa, offering opportunities for regional, continental and global exhibitors to display and demonstrate their services and products. I am convinced the Fair will provide a good platform for the Zambian to sample market opportunities for their products in Kenya and the forging of business to business linkages with their Kenya counterparts
Such private sector links are essential so that the business community can play its rightful role in fostering faster and inclusive socio-economic development. Governments can only deliver good policies, but nothing will happen if the energy and imagination of the business community is discouraged or wasted.
With these few remarks, I thank you for the wonderful displays of ingenuity and enterprise that I have already seen, and I wish you all a productive Fair.
Thank you. God bless you.