PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday urged closer cooperation between South Africa and Zambia in fighting poverty, disease and unemployment.
"The difficult years of fighting colonialism and apartheid together must now translate into a successful joint quest for economic freedom and social development," he said in the Zambian capital Lusaka.
"Our shared history must encourage us to work together to fight poverty and disease and to ensure that our people have decent jobs and a better quality of life," Zuma said.
"Our two business sectors must work as closely as the two governments will now work together to ensure that we increase economic cooperation and trade."
Zuma is on a three-day state visit to Zambia, accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a business delegation representing 60 companies in the energy and petroleum, ICT, infrastructure, financial services, healthcare, mining and agro-processing sectors.
Trade between the two countries has increased substantially since 1994 and Zambia is now South Africa's number one trading partner on the continent.
Major SA exports to Zambia include mineral oils and fuels, vehicles and components, chemicals, steel and capital equipment, and more investment opportunities are to be explored.
"We should also continue to work together to strengthen people-to-people contact through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes as well as encouraging two-way tourism," Zuma said.
He said the South Africa-Zambia joint permanent commission for cooperation, signed in 2005, would help in implementing bilateral agreements. - Sapa