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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Zambia and Japan sign agreement
on mineral exploration collaboration

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia and Japan on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation between companies on exploration of mineral resources such as copper and cobalt.

The deal was signed by Zambia’s Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa and Tetsuhiro Hosono, president of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, on the sidelines of the Japan-Africa Public Private Economic Forum, currently taking place in South Africa, said a statement issued by the Zambian embassy in that country.

The agreement envisages technical, information exchange, promotion of mineral resources investment cooperation between the two countries.

The Zambian minister said the southern African nation would need to enhance its technology and skills in the mining sector through its cooperation with Japan.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Businesses in Zambia record impressive growth in April: survey

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Businesses in Zambia showed a strong growth pattern during the month of April, signaling a declining impact of a cholera outbreak that had affected businesses, a survey of business performances released on Friday has shown.

According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index survey data for April conducted by Stanbic Bank Zambia, business activity rose for the first time in 2018, as the negative impacts of the recent cholera outbreak continue to subside.

According to the figures, business performance rose to 51.2 in April from 50.7 in March, indicating an overall improvement in business conditions in the country.

According to the survey, the rate of growth was the strongest observed in 2018 after accelerating from March, with readings above 50 signaling an improvement in business conditions while readings below 50 show deterioration.

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Zambia and Angola agree to explore cooperation in oil, gas

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia and Angola have agreed to explore cooperation in oil and gas, according to a final joint communique issued on Friday following a two-day state visit by Angolan President Joao Lourenco.

The communique said the leaders of the two countries agreed to cooperate in the oil and gas sectors given the resource endowment and expertise that Angola possesses and the readily available market in Zambia.

The two leaders further agreed to expedite plans for the construction of an oil pipeline from Angola to Zambia as well as renewed commitments to the development of transport infrastructure linking the two neighboring countries.

The communique said the two leaders also underscored the need to increase the levels of bilateral trade.

The Angolan president arrived in Zambia on Wednesday and held talks with his Zambian counterpart President Edgar Lungu.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of five agreements that included on the exemption of visas, security and public order, cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters and a protocol on agricultural cooperation.

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Zambia revokes one television license, suspends
13 radio stations over statutory fees

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Zambia on Friday revoked a license of one television station and suspended licenses for 13 radio stations for failure to pay statutory fees in line with the law.

The affected broadcasting stations have since been given 14 days to settle the fees or face punitive action.

Justin Mutale, the Chairperson of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the regulator of the broadcasting industry, said the affected broadcasting stations have failed to pay the statutory fees despite repeated reminders and that some have been operating without paying the fees since 2015.

“The public may wish to know that the stations had been written to concerning their non-compliance, particularly failure to pay license fees,” he told reporters during a press briefing.

He said the television station, Copperbelt Television, has not been broadcasting in line with the law hence the decision to revoke its license.

The regulator has also warned other broadcasting stations that have not paid their statutory fees for 2018 to pay the fees within seven days, failure to which action will be taken against them.

The broadcasting stations are supposed to pay statutory fees in January of each year.

The regulator expressed disappointment that broadcasting stations were finding it difficult to pay statutory fees when the fees were the lowest compared to what was happening in other countries in the region.

Zambia has seen the mushrooming of radio and television stations since the liberalization of the broadcasting industry.

Currently, authorities in Zambia have issued 115 radio licenses and 45 television licenses.

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Media owners rue shrinking media space in Zambia

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Journalists in Zambia on Thursday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day with proprietors of media institutions expressing concern over the shrinking media space in the country.

Oscar Chavula, president of the Media Owners Association of Zambia, said the government should allow the media to operate freely without any intimidation because the media was key to the development of the country.

“Media practitioners have continued to face injustices at the hands of politicians and in some instances government officials as evidenced by the physical attacks on media houses and harassment of individual journalists from both the private and public media witnessed in the recent past,” he said.

He said the government needed to take necessary steps to arrest the shrinking media space by enacting the Access to Information Bill into law to enable the media freely keep in check those in power and ensure that justice and the rule of law prevailed.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”.

But the media owners believe that the realization of the theme will be impossible as long as the media industry continues to face harassment from political parties and those in power.

He further said the current draconian media laws were hindering journalists from questioning certain decisions made by those in power.

The media owners also pledged to hold a meeting in order to deal with the problem of poor working conditions prevailing in the media industry, saying without good conditions it will be difficult to attain professionalism.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s human rights body has commended journalists for their unwavering resilience in defending human rights in the country despite the harsh working environment they operate in.

The commemoration of the main event in Lusaka, the country’s capital, started with a march of journalists from various media organizations who marched to East Park Mall shopping complex.

The commemoration was also characterized by an exhibition by various media houses

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Zambia pledges to review laws to strengthen media freedom

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said on Wednesday that it would consider reviewing some current laws that impede media freedoms in the country.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dora Siliya said her ministry has already drafted the National Information and Media Policy to guide the continued growth of the country’s media industry.

“To this end, the policy proposes a review of some current laws to further strengthen freedom of the press and the rights of citizens in Zambia,” she said in a statement to launch the commemorative activities of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day which falls on May 3.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”.

The Zambian minister said the theme reminds journalists in the country to be responsible in their work as they yield tremendous power on behalf of the people.

She also said her ministry was currently working with other relevant government departments to strengthen existing defamation laws and provide for cyber laws in order to protect citizens against bad media practitioners.

Currently, authorities in Zambia have issued 115 radio licenses and 45 television licenses as well as 11 for newspapers, she added.

Journalists in Zambia have over the years complained of bad media environment and have been calling on authorities to review some archaic laws.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zambia Chapter said the media environment makes it hard for journalists to report the truth in many instances.

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Africa urged to upgrade maritime, logistic infra-
structure to promote trade: bank official

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Africa must urgently upgrade its maritime and logistic infrastructure in order to successfully promote the continent’s trade, especially intra-Africa trade, the African Export-Import Bank said on Friday.

In an emailed statement, Kanayo Awani, the bank’s managing director in charge of intra-African trade initiative, said the weak maritime and logistic infrastructure was harmful to African trade, adding that the continent currently had the world’s highest transportation and transaction costs.

In remarks delivered at the Africa Ship-owners Summit in Seychelles, the official said only a few of the African countries with access to the sea had established the right infrastructure for maritime transport even though maritime transport accounted for 92 percent of Africa’s trade.

Africa, she said, currently handled only six percent of global seaborne traffic, out of which 50 percent of the volume was handled by Egypt and South Africa.

According to her, there should be incentives to encourage African businesses to support the development of local shipping lines.

Opportunities also existed in inland waterways, cruise ship services, trans-shipment, container manufacturing and repairs, dry docking and other value addition services, she added.

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Zambian court acquits Nigerian prophet of drug trafficking charges

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- A court in Zambia on Monday acquitted a Nigerian prophet of two charges of drug trafficking.

The court acquitted Isaac Amata, 42, of two charges of trafficking and importation of ephedrine, a prohibited drug, following the failure by state prosecutors to prove the charge.

The Nigerian prophet was arrested on January 25 upon arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, the country’s capital for, allegedly trafficking 26.29 kilogram of ephedrine.

Tutwa Ngulube, the Nigerian prophet’s lawyer, told reporters after the acquittal that it was evident from the start that the case would not go anywhere.

He said he will sit down with his client on the way forward, which may include the possibility of suing the state for unlawful prosecution.

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