By Sibel Ugurlu
ANKARA – Zambian Vice President Inonge Wina on Friday called on the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to support the country’s economic diversification agenda through mechanization of the agriculture sector.
The Zambian government “would appreciate TIKA’s support in training and imparting skills to small-scale farmers and youth who want to venture into agriculture”, Wina was quoted as saying in a statement from the Zambian Embassy.
“We need those skills to enhance the agriculture sector. Our country has been dependent on mono commodities like copper for a very long time and also on mono crops like maize. But now we want to diversify even in the maize sector to other crops that can be exported or we add value to the crops for export so that our economy can be boosted, and we think cooperation with TIKA can help us in that regard.”
In a bilateral meeting with TIKA President Serdar Cam in Ankara Friday, Wina also urged Turkish investors to consider investing in Zambia’s tourism, agriculture and energy sectors.
“You have the skills here. You have the experience, and we want to tap into those sectors to support the Zambian businesses, and we look forward to more strengthened cooperation,” she said.
She called for enhanced development cooperation with TIKA to help support the livelihoods of Zambians, including strengthening trade relations between the two countries for mutual benefit.
“We believe that the establishment of TIKA offices in Zambia will strengthen these relationships and to develop common interests based on business and trade,” Wina said.
She added that Zambia appreciates the support rendered by the Turkish government in its health and education sectors.
Cam said TIKA has already started working towards implementing the agreements signed between the two countries in Lusaka on July 28, 2018.
He said TIKA maintains plans to develop new investments and projects in 2018 "despite the currency fluctuations that Turkey is experiencing, which has posed budgetary challenges".