ZAMBIA has asked Sweden to help in the transformation of the health sector that Government has embarked on in order to improve service delivery.
This is according to a statement released by Nicky Shabolyo, press secretary at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa.
Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rayford Mbulu, said that he was aware that Sweden had advanced medical technology and that Zambia could benefit if areas of cooperation were identified and opened up. He said Government was focusing on improving the quality of health delivery and that this could easily be achieved with support from technologically advanced countries such as Sweden.
Mr. Mbulu made the appeal during a bilateral meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister, Ms. Margot Wallstrom held on the sidelines of the 14th Africa-Nordic Foreign Ministers Dialogue at Legends Golf Safari Resort in Limpopo, South Africa on Friday.
Mr. Mbulu also said that Zambia was looking for support in diversifying its economy by strengthening the agricultural and tourism sectors. He also appealed for scholarships for young Zambians, whom he said made up over 60 per cent of the population.
In her response, Ms. Wallstrom said Sweden could, in the short term, assist Zambia establish a specialised medical institution to treat spinal injuries.
She said this would be a worthwhile project as it would also come with other rare specialists such as neurologists. Sweden has already facilitated the establishment of similar facilities in Botswana and Namibia.
She said her country was looking forward to building on the existing relations in order to enhance value-based cooperation with Zambia for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries. The minister pointed out that Sweden will assess the requests made by Mr. Mbulu and see how Sweden could assist.
Meanwhile, Sweden has congratulated Zambia for holding peaceful elections on 20th January, 2015 which ushered in President Edgar Lungu. Ms. Wallstrom said Zambia has once again stood as a good example of how good governance should be practiced.
And speaking after the two-day event, Mr. Mbulu described the meeting as productive as it brought together individuals from different backgrounds from whom Zambia drew ideas to help in realising her objectives.
He said the African Union Agenda 2063 was well articulated at the meeting and that Zambia would draw lessons as the country implements the Vision 2030.
Mr. Mbulu said Zambia made her position clear on the commitment to upholding good governance adding that the country stood out in terms of empowering women as evidenced through appointments to key policy positions. He cited President Edgar Lungu’s appointment of Mrs. Inonge Wina, as Zambia’s first female Vice-President, and other female appointees holding senior positions in strategic government ministries and institutions as testimony to the commitment to achieving gender parity at decision making levels.