United Kingdom Minister of State for the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Harriet Baldwin says her government will increase its investment in Zambia’s energy sector through renewable energy projects targeted at improving access to electricity ‘for people without power’.
According to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, Baldwin was speaking when she paid a courtesy call on Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, Wednesday.
“Zambia makes sense in renewable energy generation, which is why we are keen to make sure the country benefits in some of our planned investments…the private sector in the United Kingdom is keen to invest in Zambia because they have seen tremendous opportunities here,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin also announced that in recognition of Zambia’s importance as a trade and investment destination, the United Kingdom Government would send a trade envoy and appoint a trade advisor at the British High Commission in Lusaka.
She encouraged the Zambian Government to continue making growth oriented decisions, albeit tough, and implementing expenditure choices that will facilitate the sustenance of social-sector programmes.
Baldwin also requested Mwanakatwe to endure in implementing public financial accountability reforms not only to assure cooperating partners of proper utilization of their invested resources but also to render potency to the fiscal consolidation agenda of the country.
Speaking at the same event, Mwanakatwe said through enactment of the Public Financial Management Act, the Zambian Government had implemented measures to foster fiscal discipline and would stand firm on the recently announced austerity measures.
“The measures which we have implemented will also facilitate improved resource disbursements to social-sector programmes,” Mwanakatwe said.
The Minister of Finance welcomed the announcement by the United Kingdom to invest in Zambia’s energy sector and stated that the country was positioning itself to meet not only national but regional power requirements through projects such as the Batoka and the Kafue Lower Power Projects.
Mwanakatwe further informed the visiting British Government Official that the public procurement act was in the process of being reviewed in order to improve transparency, accountability, and entrench initiatives such as the e-procurement system.
“Opportunities are here that is why through the economic stabilisation and growth programme, we are putting the entire social-economic machinery in full function so that we can meet the country’s development aspirations,” said Mwanakatwe.