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By Zamchro US Bureau Chief,

 

Government has paid tribute to the United States for its continued support to Zambia in various fields. It says the US is particularly helping Zambia in its efforts towards fighting poverty.

 

Charge de Affairs at the Zambia Embassy in Washington, Newstead Zimba, says Zambia is grateful for the support.

 

Mr. Zimba was speaking after Zambia was selected as one of the three new eligible countries that can apply to access the grant funding under the U.S government innovative foreign assistance program to reduce poverty through economic growth.

 

Mr. Zimba also said Zambia remains committed to the promotion of good governance. He said this is being done through fighting corruption, observing the rule of law and respecting political rights.

 

Other countries that have been given the compact eligibility by the Board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation include Colombia and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Zambian President Rupiah Banda says the government was extremely concerned at the negative developments in the copper mining industry.

 

Speaking on Saturday in the copper mining town of Luanshya where he met with trade union officials from the mine workers unions, the president said the government wanted to work with all stakeholders in finding a solution to the falling copper prices that have created anxiety in the country.

 

Nearly all of Zambia’s foreign exchange earnings come from copper and other minerals such as cobalt. However, the current global financial crisis has pushed the prices of the metal down, forcing local mine companies to cut jobs.

 

From a price of US$8000 at the beginning of the year, current copper prices have fallen by more than fifty percent to the current price of less than US$3000 a tone.

 

The president said it was important for his government to bring all stakeholders in the sector on board so that a lasting solution could be found to the situation that was threatening to reverse the country’s recent economic gains.

 

Union leaders at the meeting said they were happy that the president has finally responded to their calls for an urgent meeting.

 

Copyright (c) 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All Rights Reserved

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