Zambia and India sign 4 pacts for further cooperation

Zambia and India on Wednesday signed four agreements including double taxation avoidance and judicial cooperation as President President Edgar Lungu held delegation-level talks with his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind.

President Kovind, who arrived in Lusaka on Tuesday on the final leg of his visit to three African countries, had "meaningful and wide-ranging discussions" with his Zambian counterpart, said a statement issued by the Indian President's Office.

"The two Presidents exchanged views on bilateral and global issues. Committing to India's long-standing developmental partnership with Zambia, President Kovind also expressed appreciation for Zambia having signed the International Solar Alliance agreement. He looked forward to early ratification of the agreement from the Zambian side," the statement said.

The two sides signed four agreements - on double taxation avoidance; on judicial cooperation; on mutual visa waivers for officials and diplomats, and on the Entrepreneurship Development Institute that India will build in Zambia.

This is the first visit to the country by an Indian president since 1989.

President Kovind also addressed the Zambia-India Business Forum.

"Zambia and India are time-tested friends. Built on this strong foundation, our bilateral trade and economic engagement has prospered," he said.

"Indian companies have invested significantly in Zambia, especially in mining, telecom, energy and manufacturing. But we can do more. There are opportunities for our businesses to explore - from social enterprises to new technology; from community projects to highways; and from 'Digital India' to 'Smart Zambia'," the President said while addressing the Forum.

Noting that the trade between the two countries has picked up significantly in the past few years, President Kovind urged all stakeholders - small and medium enterprises, Chambers of Commerce, large companies, new entrepreneurs - to diversify and expand the Zambia-India business corridor.

"Both Zambia and India are blessed with a youthful population. We need to connect our young people through start-ups, skills, technology and new ideas," he said.

As part of President Kovind's visit, India has agreed in principle to provide concessional finance and support towards the construction of the Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Lusaka. India has also gifted Zambia medicines and medical equipment worth $3 million as well as presented $100,000 for the Mahatma Gandhi School in Lusaka.

Earlier in the morning, the President visited the Embassy Park Presidential Memorial in Lusaka and paid tributes to three former Presidents of Zambia - Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and Micheal Sata.

Today, the Indian President will ceremonially commence work on the 93km Lusaka Traffic Decongestion Project.

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