Development MEPs on fact-finding visit to Zambia

Development MEPs on fact-finding visit to Zambia

A delegation of four MEPs from the Committee on Development will visit Lusaka and projects in the region alongside European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.

The four-member delegation will be led by Committee on Development Vice-Chair Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (Greens/EFA, DE), and will be in Zambia from 19-21 June.

The mission, undertaken jointly with Commissioner Urpilainen, will be first ‘Team Europe’ development mission involving both the Parliament and the Commission. While in Zambia, MEPs will focus on EU support in areas like education, agriculture, food security and climate resilience. They will also discuss issues around debt, the role of the private sector and the implementation of the EU’s “Global Gateway” initiative.

Across the three days, the MEPs together with Commissioner Urpilainen will meet with Zambian government ministers and officials, representatives of the Zambian parliament, local business leaders, and EU member states ambassadors. They will also meet with civil society groups and visit EU-supported agriculture and education projects. A short press point with delegation lead Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (Greens/EFA, DE), Commissioner Urpilainen and the Zambian minister for education will take place on Tuesday 20 June in the afternoon, and will be streamed on the EBS platform.

EU-Zambia relations

The EU maintains excellent relations with Zambia, having hosted President Haikande Hichilema in plenary in June 2022. Zambia plays a key role in the Southern African region, and its government has initiated a series of economic and social reforms to overcome debt issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introducing President Hichilema EP President Roberta Metsola said Zambia stands as an example of a mature democracy for the whole of the African continent. Now more than ever, in the current troubled geopolitical context and during Russia’s efforts to increase its influence in Africa, Zambia’s progress needs to be supported. President Metsola also reminded MEPs that back in 2017 Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the incarceration of President Hichilema on politically motivated charges.

“Zambia is back in business, in the Champions league”, President Hichilema said, referring to the results of country’s most recent elections. He reiterated Zambia’s commitment to put people’s interests, reforms, free media, the rule of law, youth and education at the top of his political agenda. He advocated for enhanced Africa- EU cooperation, more trade, and more exchange of knowledge.

“We categorically say no to the war in Ukraine. It is tragic and heart-breaking to witness the thousands of lives lost and millions displaced unnecessarily, as a result of an avoidable conflict in Ukraine”, President Hichilema said, while speaking about peace and security in the world. He added that the impact of the war is felt in his country in the form of higher fuel, food and fertilizers prices, and he urged all parties to focus more on improving the lives of people, not waging war. President Hichilema also offered his help in overcoming food shortages.

President Hichilema also expressed his profound gratitude for the support of the European Parliament for him and for Zambia during his incarceration and the dark days of Zambia’s democratic development. “I remain indebted to you for standing up for human rights and freedom of all people in Zambia”, he said.

Members of the delegation: Pierrette HERBERGER-FOFANA (Greens/EFA, DE), Chair; György HÖLVÉNYI (EPP, HU); Udo BULLMANN (S&D, DE); Carlos ZORRINHO (S&D, PT).


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