Zambia has announced its first discoveries of oil and gas reserves.
Submitted by Herta Malita Shikapwashya - KNN Staff-International Geopolitics Reporter
The discoveries were made in western Zambia, near the border with Angola, already a major oil exporter. President Levy Mwanawasa said that samples from 12 sites have proved positive in tests conducted in Germany. Exploration had been carried out for the past two years, as part of efforts to diversify the economy away from copper exports.
'Strengthen the economy'
Mr Mwanawasa said the government would now appoint a special cabinet committee to select foreign oil firms to conduct comprehensive exploration. "These results confirm the presence of oil and gas in the sub-surface of the two districts of Chavuma and Zambezi," he said. He said he hoped they could also look for oil in other parts of the country. "It is hoped that the country will see more exploration and extraction activities for oil and gas in different parts that would strengthen the country's economy," said Mr Mwanawasa. The president won a second term in office in September, having campaigned on his economic record. Western donors have praised him for boosting economic growth above 5% and attracting foreign investments, helped by his anti-corruption campaign. Yet Mr Mwanawasa's main rival for the presidency, Michael Sata, alleged that he was cheated of victory.