Zambia’s President HAKAINDE HICHILEMA has returned home after participating in the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The summit, with the theme of “Accelerated Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” provided an opportunity for African leaders to network and discuss crucial developmental issues, including regional integration, peace and security, good governance, food security, and nutrition.
In a statement, President Hichilema noted the significance of participating in the summit, saying, “As a country, we are aware of the role that we play in Africa and the world at large, and it is vital that we participate in such platforms to make meaningful contributions that will move Africa forward.” He added that the summit allowed Zambia to not only advance and protect its national interests but also to be part of the decision-making process in key areas.
During the summit, President Hichilema engaged in strategic meetings to advance Zambia’s national interests and be part of the decision-making process in key areas. In a statement, he said, “We participated in strategic meetings that presented an opportunity for Zambia to not only advance and protect her national interests, including at the continental level, but to also be part of the decision-making process in key areas such as regional integration, and topical issues of peace and security, good governance, food security, and nutrition.”
He also held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo to resolve the challenges at the Kasumbalesa Border Post, agreeing to quickly improve operations to facilitate trade between the two countries. “The meeting was centered around resolving the challenges at the Kasumbalesa Border Post. The two Presidents agreed to quickly improve operations at the border in order to accelerate the conveyance of goods between the two countries without losing much time,” President Hichilema said.
In addition, Zambia won the “2022 best malaria scorecard tool award” at the ALMA 2023 Awards of Excellence, which recognizes the country’s relentless fight against malaria using the ALMA supported scorecard Web Platform Workplan Management Tool. President Hichilema received the award on behalf of the Zambian people. In a statement, he said, “We are delighted to have won the ‘2022 best malaria scorecard tool award’ at the ALMA 2023 Awards of Excellence. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Zambian people in the fight against malaria.”
President Hichilema has also prioritized economic diplomacy, seeking private sector investment and shifting the emphasis of Zambian foreign policy into the commercial realm. During his meeting with the President of Tanzania, the two leaders committed to strengthening bilateral relations in the area of trade facilitation and energy investment, with the TAZAMA project as the top priority.
“Our meeting was centered on strengthening bilateral relations in the area of trade facilitation and energy investment between our two countries. Top of the agenda was the TAZAMA project,” President Hichilema said. He added, “Zambia and Tanzania share cordial bilateral relations based on mutual trust, solidarity, and cooperation that have existed since the days of the founding Fathers, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda and Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, respectively.”
President Hichilema’s external relations have brought benefits to Zambia, set a regional precedent, and made a positive mark in the region. His participation in the AU summit and his commitment to strengthening ties with neighboring countries bodes well for Zambia’s economic growth and regional integration. In a statement, he said, “We remain committed to our priorities of economic diplomacy and regional integration, and we will continue to work with our neighbors to ensure that our region and our continent as a whole can thrive.”