Zambia’s Ambassador to Russia Shadreck Luwita has revealed that President Edgar Lungu is expected to make an official state visit to Russia in 2019.

The state visit is at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and will happen as soon as all the details of his trip are harmonized.

Ambassador Luwita said this in an interview with Russian news agency Sputnik following the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Investment Forum in Moscow.

“[The visit’s organization] is now incumbent upon the technocrats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia, [they] started working on the modalities to concretize when President Lungu can undertake the state visit to Russia,” Ambassador Luwita said.

“We are working flat out to ensure that this is realized as quickly as possible. The year is already almost ending so definitely we anticipate that in the course of next year, as early as possible, this state visit should be realized.”

He said Russia was a great friend of Africa, adding that the countries of the continent were interested in developing relations for the benefit of their economies.

“There is enormous potential in this country in terms of technology, there are enormous resources, which, once partnered with the African continent in various economic sectors, will transform into the development of the African continent so that Africa is no longer dependent on aid,” Ambassador Luwita indicated.

The Zambian envoy to Russia welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the SADC and Russia that took place within the forum’s framework on Tuesday.

“This has come at an optimal time… It is a panacea to opening up investment opportunities in the SADC countries. As you are aware, it has been the considered view of the heads of state of the African continent on the need of the Russian government, on one hand, and indeed of Russian investors… to transform these excellent political relations into economic benefits, which are going to benefit both the African people as well as the Russian people,” said Ambassador Luwita.

In July, Mr. Putin invited President Lungu to visit Russia during a bilateral meeting that was held on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in South Africa.