Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Joseph Malanji has said the transfer of technology from the developed world to Zambia was key in President Edgar Lungu’s foreign policy. Mr. Malanji said the Zambian government has decided to bring nuclear technology to Zambia as part of the overall plan to modernize and find homegrown solutions to the country’s economic and social challenges.
The minister made the remarks during his recent visit to Moscow, Russia, following an invitation by his counterpart, Sergey Ravrov. During the visit, the Kwacha lawmaker visited Dubna where he toured a nuclear research center.
“We had to visit the facility to deepen our appreciation of modern research activities in nuclear science which we are seeking for civilian purposes”, Mr. Malanji said.
Zambia has signed an agreement with Rosatom, a Russian company to construct a nuclear research facility in the country. As part of efforts to be ready for the facility once completed, the Zambian government is seeking partnership with the Dubna-based research center to gain an understanding of how nuclear research works.
So far, some Zambian government officials have been to Dubna as well as some experts in the nuclear field. Mr. Malanji is visiting as a top policy maker as part of Zambia’s efforts to underscore the importance attached to the program.
In order to ensure that not only nuclear technology is transferred, about 20 Zambian students are currently in Russia studying nuclear science at under graduate level. Upon graduation, the students are expected to form the backbone of the Zambian research facility.
Once experts between Zambia and the Dubna research center work out the necessary technicalities, it is expected that Zambian experts will be regular visitors to the Russian facility.
The research facility has signed agreements of cooperation with various governments around the world that include those in Europe, Africa and Asia. Zambia is seeking a formal agreement with the institution to formalize the relationship and benefit from what it has to offer.
“Setting up a nuclear research center is not just an idea we are exploring, it’s a program the Zambian government has already agreed to proceed with”, Mr. Malanji said emphatically.
The general public associates nuclear science with military purposes but the science has contributed to finding solutions to food production, clean drinking water, some forms of cancer, the production of electricity and many civilian problems.
Once set up, the Zambian Nuclear Research facility will lead to the creation of scores of both specialized and non-specialized jobs. It is hoped that a new town will emerge around the facility to accommodate the center employees and their families.
Mr. Malanji was accompanied to Moscow by Ambassador Lombe Chalwe, Permanent Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation and Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, Chief Executive Officer, Mateyo Kaluba. Zambia’s Ambassador to Russia Shadreck Luwita accompanied the Minister to Dubna to tour the nuclear research center.