The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced that President Hakainde Hichilema has accepted what the Ministry described as a rare invitation to address the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday, 23rd June, 2022.
According to the statement released to the media by Hon. Stanley K. Kakubo,the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Coperation, President Hichilema’s visit to Brussels is at the invitation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union (EU) Commission and Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament.
The President will immediately after his Address, travel to Kigali, Rwanda to participate in the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled for 23rd to 25th June, 2022.
While in Brussels, the President will also hold bilateral meetings with the EU Parliament President; the European Union Vice President/Commissioner for Trade; the Vice President European Commission Green Deal; the European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships; the Minister of State for Development, Francophone and International Partnerships of France, and the Secretary-General of the Organisation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
In addition, the President will participate in a Roundtable Discussion on the Relationship between Trade and Food Security.
Through his engagements in Brussels, President Hichilema will consolidate the New Dawn Government’s efforts to unlock the country’s economy through forging meaningful partnerships for collaboration, particularly in trade and investment for the betterment of the people of Zambia. Such collaborations were manifested at the Inaugural EU Zambia Economic Forum that was successfully held in Lusaka, Zambia, May 2022.
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will be hosted by His Excellency Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, President Hichilema will be accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. Mutinta Hichilema. This will be the President’s inaugural Commonwealth Summit and it will be the first time, since 2011, that Zambia has attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the level of Head of State.
On the margins of the Summit, the President is expected to hold bilateral consultations with different leaders of the Member States of the Commonwealth on pertinent issues aimed at exploring areas of economic and social cooperation.
The CHOGM, which is held every two years, presents an opportunity for Commonwealth Member States to review international political and economic developments; examine avenues for Commonwealth cooperation, and explore ways of pooling resources and innovations to help transform common challenges into opportunities.
President Hichilema’s international engagements continue to be underpinned by his Administration’s unwavering commitment to transform the country’s economy and create equitable opportunities for the Zambian people, especially women and the youth. The Government is actively designing and implementing interventions aimed at enhancing productivity in agriculture, mining, energy, financial services, tourism, technology, health, education, as well as supporting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises.
In view of the foregoing, the President’s high-level engagements of addressing the EU Parliament and participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will provide valuable opportunities for increased cooperation with international partners, which is vital to Zambia’s economic transformation agenda.
The President is expected to return to Zambia on 25th June, 2022.