US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel L. Foote
US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel L. Foote

By Daniel L. Foote, United States Ambassador to Zambia

Season’s Greetings! Time has flown, and at the end of my first year as U.S. Ambassador to this marvelous country, I am proud to have visited all 10 of Zambia’s diverse provinces. Through my travels, I have interacted with Zambians from all walks of life, and I have learned that Zambians and Americans are not all that different. We share many of the same goals and aspirations, like wanting a stable country, good jobs, a great education, excellent health, and a better future for our children. I reflect on this past year to highlight the amazing things we have done together and eagerly await the future growth of the U.S.-Zambia partnership.

Many of you know that the conservationist in me has campaigned tirelessly for the survival of Zambia’s endangered wildlife and threatened environment. Wildlife and environmental conservation benefits Zambia’s tourism sector, creating investment opportunities and jobs. When I joined Billy Lombe and other wildlife conservationists on a 12-kilometer walk from Lusaka to Chilanga, I did not do it for the exercise. Rather, I wanted to advocate for community-based natural resource management, with clear community benefits, so future generations can benefit from Zambia’s elephants and rich biodiversity.

In collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the United States’ support to biodiversity in Zambia focuses on community development in game management areas and combating wildlife crime. To date, we have invested nearly $20 million to protect over one million hectares of Zambia’s forest and wildlife habitat, and to empower communities to participate in and benefit from these efforts. Additionally, we have budgeted over $10 million in annual funding for continued environmental programming, which includes conservation and anti-wildlife trafficking. Following unforgettable visits to Kalambo Falls, Victoria Falls, and seven of Zambia’s national parks, I still feel strongly that Zambia’s wildlife and environment are her most precious gifts. They deserve greater appreciation from the public and protection from criminals looking to exploit Zambia’s natural heritage.

The United States remains Zambia’s largest bilateral assistance partner. Most of this assistance has been in the health sector, with more than $3.5 billion contributed towards the fight against HIV/AIDS in the past 15 years. Together with the Zambian government, we have saved over 1 million lives through the provision of free HIV treatment. All around the country, I have met mothers living with HIV who have given birth to HIV-negative children, and men and women who tested positive for HIV years ago now living long, healthy, and productive lives. That is a sign that we can beat this disease and that Zambia can achieve HIV epidemic control by 2020, ensuring that over one million of the nearly 1.3 million people living with HIV in Zambia are consistently on life-saving drugs. I believe Zambia can reach this goal, but it depends on all of us. Therefore, I urge everyone to be tested for HIV, to start and remain on treatment if positive, to ensure your husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, and children are tested and treated for HIV, and to contribute to a society free from stigma and discrimination.

Our assistance to Zambia’s health sector also includes Ebola preparedness, fighting malaria, and protecting maternal and child health. When I visited Mbala in August, I witnessed the vital U.S.-supported Ebola Virus Rapid Response Team training. So far, the U.S. government has supported training of over 350 frontline healthcare workers on how to identify and respond to cases of Ebola. In addition, the U.S. government has continued to support the Zambia National Public Health Institute by providing over $2 million this year to build capacity to detect, respond, and mitigate public health threats. Malaria is the number one cause of hospitalization in Zambia and a major cause of mortality, particularly for pregnant women and young children. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative has invested $30 million, working hand-in-hand with the National Malaria Elimination Center to reduce the burden of malaria on Zambians throughout the country, particularly in the most problematic areas. Working with the Ministry of Health, we have also helped reduce maternal mortality by 53 percent, while increasing high quality care to infants, access to family planning, and post-natal care to mothers.

In November, Zambia and the United States concluded a five-year, $355 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact that will benefit 1.2 million Lusaka residents for many years to come. Lusakans can now worry less about water-related diseases, losing valuable time to collect water, and flood damage. Although the U.S.-supported portion of the project is complete, I commend the Zambian government for considering the long-term view through its $38 million commitment to finish work on the project. By improving water supply, sanitation, and drainage infrastructure, we have taken steps to reduce poverty and boost economic growth in Zambia.

Given the importance of copper to Zambia’s economy, I visited several mines and recognized the need for all stakeholders to work together. I encourage government and the communities to continue to work to create the right conditions to attract additional investors in order to expand the sector and to ensure that people who have already invested heavily in Zambia can continue to do business successfully.

I value the relationship between our nations’ armed forces and the role it plays in advancing regional peace and security. Since 2015, the U.S. government has provided peacekeeping training in support of the Zambian Defense Forces’ participation in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in the Central African Republic. We proudly support the fifth Zambian battalion now preparing to deploy, thus continuing Zambia’s immense contributions to peacekeeping efforts within the region.

Earlier this month, I swore in 70 new Peace Corps volunteers, augmenting the largest Peace Corps program in Africa. These are Americans, young and old, who voluntarily serve in local communities to help the Zambian people in agriculture, education, environment, health, and economic development. Since 1993, more than 1,700 American volunteers have served throughout the country, including in some of the remotest of Zambian villages.

As I write this, I am thankful for the substantial local press coverage of American partnership. At the same time, I encourage greater media freedoms in Zambia and more equitable treatment of the press across the board. During my interactions with the press, I have recognized the challenges many Zambian journalists face in their daily work. Throughout the year, the U.S. Embassy has supported reporters via journalism training and professional exchange programs to help them navigate these challenges.

I want to highlight that U.S. assistance comes at no financial cost to the Zambian people and does not saddle the government with excessive debts. We issue grants, not loans. This means Zambia does not have to repay the United States. We make such investments in order to strengthen Zambia’s ability to achieve inclusive economic prosperity for all, and to protect, develop, and care for its most important resource—its people —as well as advance peace and security not only in Zambia but throughout the region.

It has been quite a busy year, indeed, with both happy and sad notes. I would like to thank the Zambian people for their sincere messages of condolence on the passing of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. On behalf of my family and the U.S. Embassy team, I wish all Zambians a safe holiday season and look forward to a prosperous partnership in 2019.

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33 COMMENTS

    • I personally like Ambassador Foote. He is very engaging, fearless, respectful, and diplomatic.
      Zambia should be thankful for the aid we have received from the US. But it’s time to move away from dependence on donor aid. It’s time we start engaging with the US As a trade partner and not a donor.

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    • The feelings are mutual Mr. Ambassador we wish you the best times of your lives, you and your family as you serve these two great nations. The smart people of the Zambian Enterprise are happy to have you around.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

      You are the best

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    • ‘My Foote’! Cheap diplomacy, just basically telling them what they want to hear and the dupable believe him. When are we going to move towards believing in ourselves and what we do? I am sick of this!

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    • I don’t see no Trump in article. But wait and see what every single word from Foreign Affairs ministers Amos Chanda and Sunday Chanda…. who brought up that fight.
      Changwa Lungu Changwa Changwa Lungu, as if he is the Zambia.

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    • Mr Foote, could your govt please do more to help corruption, enhance rule of law and respect for human right in Zambia

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    • “Through my travels, I have interacted with Zambians from all walks of life, and I have learned that Zambians and Americans are not all that different”. Except the gay sh!t

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    • THANKYOU AMBASSADOR FOOTE.
      That’s Zambia for you.
      I hope our own abassador in your country could echo those sentiments to your people as well.
      As Zambians, we do appreciate your just gained knowledge of our Almighty God blessed land Mother Zambia.
      The Zambian Dream is equal opportunities for our citizens. We welcome knowledge tranfer from your country so our land can develop like yours. We feel handouts cannot solve our numerous problems. We ask for facilitation of Technology Transfer from your government and country to Us so our people can exploit their resources effectively and efficiently. THANK YOU FOOTE, HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON.

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  1. The last paragraph is particularly interesting and I quote:

    “I want to highlight that U.S. assistance comes at no financial cost to the Zambian people and does not saddle the government with excessive debts. We issue grants, not loans. This means Zambia does not have to repay the United States…”

    What about the threats to withdraw Aid if Zambians are not in line with your way of life, e.g. embracing gay rights? This, in my eyes is far worse than financial repayment because you want us to disown our own identity and cultural values.

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    • @Nine Chale, You must be referring to the weird Liberal administration. Understand that conservatives now in office have no room for the Leftists’ agenda of imposing abomination on developing nations. They hate sodomy as do the majority Zambian conservatives.

      Merry Christmas!

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    • Great piece Senior Citizen.
      Comment checks and balances. I love that reminder.
      HFS!!!????????????

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  2. May the Good LORD reward you abundantly for your kindness and generosity – the American people. God bless America, God bless Zambia!

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  3. I want to highlight that U.S. assistance comes at no financial cost to the Zambian people and does not saddle the government with excessive debts.

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    • Yes, but what do they want in return? free access to your high-grade uranium? strategic position to cause more human suffering? create another test center for more biological tests on humans? force GMO on us so that we can be genetically modified to their requirement? Think!

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  4. While I do not like the alarming rate at which we are contracting Chinese debt, I still think it is better than US assistance.
    American donation saves lives at any given time they donate, whereas Chinese assistance is about developing this country so that we can make our own money and pay for HIV and other diseases by ourselves.
    American donation = dependancy for life
    Chinese assistance = painful repayment of debt but development after

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  5. Very different from many ambassadors we have hosted in Zambia, be it your fellow American ambassadors or from any other country. You have visited all our provinces and you have been very diplomatic in the way you have handled the international relations with us. I think you are a noble deplomat and and we wish you good life as you stay on with us. Please continue respecting our views on certain issues such as homosexuality and don’t wholy or partially qualify or disqualify us for your grants based on our views and laws on such.

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  6. “…Most of this assistance has been in the health sector, with more than $3.5 billion contributed towards the fight against HIV/AIDS in the past 15 years….”

    “….United States concluded a five-year, $355 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact that will benefit 1.2 million Lusaka residents …”

    “…Since 1993, more than 1,700 American volunteers have served throughout the country, …”

    “…I want to highlight that U.S. assistance comes at no financial cost to the Zambian people and does not saddle the government with excessive debts..'”

    Then we have PF kaponyas shouting USA help has been zero like some did the other day when John Bolton exposed them….they only say this because they are unable to tap into USA funds and steal…..that’s why they like…

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  7. Listening from the commentary platform. All your comments are good apart from those with abusive tongues are offsprings of very wasteful parents.
    Bwana Ambassander merry Christmas and happy next year.

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  8. Thanks Ambassador Foote. The highlight on loans and grants very important for many. Zambians want to hear more Sir: What happens if one fails to bay back loan?

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  9. Those against the abassador’s good, well intended message and trying to mess it up with the usual bitterloaded lamentations, kindly deal with your problems locally. Have faith in yourselves and take on corrupt elements as a patriot. I and we will definitely applaud your bravery when you successfully spot and prosecute perpetrators of corruption. HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON (HFS) folks.

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  10. Well said Mr Ambassador Foote how ever kindly advise the govt on several issues: use of expensive fuel gazzling luxury SUVs by over 5000 hypocritical senior govt officers despite Zambia being a signatory to the Paris climate agreement and as a member of the AU being one of the nations that condemned the US for not signing the agreement also the outdated cruel justice and penal system in place holding on to colonial laws which retards development when countries like the US, Canada, Holland , Israel etc are legalising its use. Truth be said sir we a backward ignorant, arrogant and selfish people but yes we can smile and be friendly sometimes more so to muzungos whom we love to call bwana.

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  11. Thank you Ambassador Foote; USA are our true Kemosabes, as Tonto would say. As long as you keep out of our election decisions by the people and don,’t call us ‘s**t countries’ we are cool.
    You are right on target on including local communities in Tourism programmes. Please advise USA Mining investors to do the same.
    Merry Xmas to you & family, may the future bring stronger ties. (PS we did not like the last chap in your role, but you are lovely)!

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