By Kellys Kaunda in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Slovenia-based International Center for the Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE) Director General Anand Asthana says Slovenia investors want to invest in Zambia.
Dr Asthana said Zambia’s electronic government (e-government) program had made the country attractive for investment.
He said the e-system had eased access to several public services citing the tax payment system as one of the notable achievements.
“It would be unwise for the Slovenia business community not to invest in Zambia,” he said.
Dr Asthana was speaking at a business forum organized to explore investment opportunities in Zambia at which Zambian Ambassador Anthony Mukwita was the main speaker.
Mr Mukwita is Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany with extra accreditation to Slovenia.
In 2015, President Edgar Lungu launched “Smart Zambia”, an initiative at Cabinet level intended to spearhead the mainstreaming of online services in every government Ministry and quasi-government body.
Since then, government ministries and other public entities have gone online with websites, launched various digitalized services and products such as e-payslips, e-vouchers and electronic education curriculum, among others.
Speaking at the same function, Slovenian Center for International Development and Cooperation (CIDC) Deputy Director Mojca Kopse said the bias was on energy.
Ms Kopse told the forum that her government’s development agenda included among others the energy sector, which could be of benefit to both Zambia and the Slovenian business community.
“We have financing packages of different kinds that could be tailored to suit the Zambian situation,” she said.
Set up by the Slovenian government, CIDC is responsible for the implementation of part of the official bilateral development cooperation agreements that the government gets into.
The organization co-finances public development projects through grants and interest rate subsidies.
Speaking earlier, Mr Mukwita told the Slovenian business forum that the energy sector was one among other sectors that have lately been attracting the attention of investors following the removal of subsidies that had discouraged private investment due to lack of prospects for returns.
“But now the sector is attractive and the deficit we face is an opportunity for you”, the Zambian envoy said.
He was in Slovenia following an invitation by the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for Zambia to participate in the 7th Africa Day International Conference for purposes of exploring investment opportunities.
Since assuming the reins of power, President Lungu has reset the country’s foreign policy to economic diplomacy with a call on foreign missions to actively seek out investment opportunities.
The writer is the First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in Germany.