US Senator Lindsey Graham has urged President Hakainde Hichilema’s government to deliver on their promises, stating that the US Congress will work on getting more American private sector to invest in Zambia. Speaking at Kabuyu Primary School in Livingstone, Senator Graham expressed his belief that the new government is the best partner the US could have in the region potentially. He said, “My Ambassador believes the new government offers a lot of promises on (fighting) corruption, and performance systems. So what I hope we could do is get more American investments here from the private sector.”
Senator Graham acknowledged that Zambia has a lot of agricultural and developmental needs, stating that getting the American private sector to invest will help. He added, “There is a lot of money to be made in this part of the world. But the challenge for this government is to deliver on the promises…this is a moment. To this new government, I like what you are saying but you need to deliver and we wanna be there to help you.”
Delaware Democrat Senator Chris Andrew Coons also expressed his support for additional US investment in Zambia, stating that it will have positive impacts across the country. Senator Coons said, “When we return to Washington we will be talking about what are the priorities of Zambia and how we work in partnership to deliver more positive impacts in the future.”
During a meeting with foreign affairs minister Stanley Kakubo and his tourism counterpart Rodney Sikumba at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, Senator Graham reiterated his support for the Zambian government. He told Kakubo and Sikumba that employing more teachers to reduce the teacher-pupil ratio is the best investment Zambia can make for posterity. He said, “Your new government is off to a good start. Word is out to the world especially in Washington [that] there is a new group (UPND) committed to reform, moving Zambia forward. You have a chance, do not let this moment pass.”
Senator Coons, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, expressed his hope that Zambia would be able to find high-standard and transparent investment resources from the American private sector through the newly created Financial Corporation. He said, “You are leading the way in terms of the model in terms of private-led sector development. We hope to be a good partner in this.”
Minister Kakubo expressed his gratitude for the support that Zambia has received from the US bilaterally and through multilateral institutions. He said, “We really appreciate the support we have gotten from the US bilaterally and through multilateral institutions. We are grateful for that.” The US congressional delegation also included New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (Foreign Relations Committee), New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, Mark Kelly (Arizona), and US permanent representative UN Agencies (Rome) Cindy McCain.