Zambia Receives €23 Million in Direct Budget Support from France, Strengthening Bilateral Ties

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In a significant development for Zambia’s economic growth, the Republic of Zambia has received direct budget support worth 23 million Euros from the French government. The financial injection aims to support various sectors of the Zambian economy, highlighting the deepened partnership between the two nations.

The financial support was officially confirmed during a signing ceremony at State House, where the French Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, paid a courtesy call on President Hakainde Hichilema.

President Hichilema expressed gratitude for the bilateral and financial support from France, emphasizing its crucial role in Zambia’s economic growth. He underscored that the strengthened partnership is a testament to the confidence France has in Zambia’s new government.

During the ceremony, President Hichilema and the French Secretary of State signed Declarations of Intent in various areas, emphasizing people-to-people relations and cultural ties. The President conveyed his commitment to fostering more investment partnerships with French investors, seeking capital, joint ventures, technology, and value addition to spur economic growth and job creation.

President Hichilema highlighted the importance of the European Union gateway project of the Lobito Corridor, acknowledging its contribution to connectivity given Zambia’s strategic geographical location. He also appealed to France for assistance in resolving Zambia’s debt impasse with official creditors, a crucial step for unlocking economic opportunities.

President Hichilema said Zambia is ready to carry out more investment partnerships with the French investors, he noted, as the country was looking for capital, joint ventures, technology and value addition that would grow the economy and create jobs.

“President Emmanuel Macron and I have agreed to deepen the relationship between our two countries and these joint declarations of intent and the investment partnerships are results of our interactions,” President Hichilema said.

The Head of State further requested France to help Zambia to finalise its debt impasse with the official creditors, noting that it will open doors for economic opportunities.

In June 2023, Zambia reached a deal with its official creditors, including China, to restructure $6.3 billion in debt. However, this deal did not include Zambia’s private bondholders. In October 2023, Zambia reached a deal with its private bondholders to restructure $3 billion in debt.

Ms. Zacharopoulou reaffirmed France’s dedication to providing strong and sustainable financial support for Zambia’s economic growth. She disclosed a substantial 16 million Euros budget support from 2023 to 2024, with an additional four million Euros allocated to the school feeding program. Other allocations include four million Euros for water and sanitation support and a 1.5 million Euros grant for sustainable forestry management.

Acting Minister of Finance and National Planning Felix Mutati emphasized the significance of the ceremony, marking the entrance of direct budget support from France. He commended President Hichilema’s vision for prudent economic management, transparency, and accountability in public finance.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Stanley Kakubo highlighted that the commitment from France is a result of high-level engagements between the Presidents of Zambia and France. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) encompasses two financial agreements and two joint declarations of intent covering water and sanitation, sustainable environmental management, critical metals and minerals support, and public finance management, respectively. This comprehensive collaboration aims to foster a mutually beneficial and enduring partnership between Zambia and France.

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