10 Heads of States that Visited Zambia and What They Promised

In the middle of Southern Africa, in a huge, landlocked, resource-rich nation with a sparsely populated area, is Zambia. With eight nations (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) sharing its border, thereby allowing it to have a larger regional market for goods and services.

According to World Bank, “Zambia’s economy rebounded in 2021, with real GDP growing at 4.6%, from a contraction of 2.8% in 2020, supported by firmer copper prices, favorable external demand, good rainfall, and post-election market confidence. In 2022, challenges in agriculture, mining, and construction slowed down the pace of post-pandemic recovery. Real GDP grew by 3.7%, year-on-year, in Q1–Q3, driven by services.”

“Zambia’s recovery is expected to strengthen, with GDP growing by around 4.5% annually over 2023–25.

However, aside from the above assertion, in a bid to foster cultural exchange, strengthen bilateral relations, promote economic cooperation, tackle food insecurity and climate change, Zambia has also been a destination for diplomatic visits by heads of states around the world.

This article takes into consideration the ten (10) heads of states that have visited Zambia, their reasons for visiting and their promises to the country.

These heads of states include the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Xinping, the United States secretary of the treasury, Janet Louise Yellen, vice president Kamala Harris of United States, Former United States Secretary, Hillary Clinton, Rwanda president, Paul Kagame, Former President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi.


President of the People’s Republic of China

In 2018, the Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Zambian Former President, Edgar Lungu ahead of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

After acknowledging that Zambia was the first country in southern Africa to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China amd that Chinese government and the Chinese people have always had special and friendly feelings towards Zambia, Xi promised that China will work with Zambia to uphold the fine tradition of friendship and cooperation, promote bilateral ties in a strategic and long-term perspective, and continue to show mutual understanding and support each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns.


U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen

January 2023, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen visited Zambia and officially opened the new U.S.-supported Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) Public Health Emergency Operations Center, and conducted multiple other to strengthen the U.S.-Zambia partnership.

Secretary Yellen’s visit illustrated United States’ commitment to deepening U.S.-Zambia economic ties, including by expanding trade and investment flows and promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

In her meeting with President Hakainde Hichilema, she assured that the United States is committed to work with Zambian leaders to build a stronger and more resilient economy that benefits Zambians, Americans, and the entire world and U.S effort towards combatting corruption to attract foreign investment and ensuring public procurements processes are fair and transparent and efforts to promote climate-resilient agriculture and food production, as well as to mitigate the global spillover effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine

U.S Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen also promised that an urgent action will be adopted towards agricultural practices and technologies to the changing climate, reaffirming that the US Government is committed to making sure that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) had sufficient resources to carry on this important work.


US Vice President, Kamala Harris in Lusaka

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris promised a “rapid finalization” of Zambia’s massive debt restructuring, during a visit to the southern African country.

“We will continue to advocate for speedy finalization of Zambia’s debt treatment and the restructuring, and we have talked extensively about that,” she said. “Our administration believes the international community needs to help countries such as Zambia regain their footing. So I will reiterate a call I have made many times for all bilateral official creditors to provide a meaningful debt reduction for Zambia.”

Kamala Harris, the first woman and first person of color elected to the U.S. vice presidency, visited Zambia in March 2023 after visiting Tanzania and Ghana.


Former United States Secretary of State

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Zambia to promote trade with Africa.

June 2011 Zambian official says the “ever-warming-up” relationship between Lusaka and Washington is set to be cemented as President Rupiah Banda is scheduled to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week.meet U.S.

to promote trade with Africa. The U.S. is in competition, however, with China, which has been buying up African commodities. NPR’s Michele Kelemen reports.

provides an opportunity for Zambians to understand the American heart and indeed [allows Americans to] join together with the Zambians,”

Secretary Clinton is in Zambia for the African Growth and Opportunity Act [AGOA] ministerial forum, where she is scheduled to showcase it as the centerpiece of US trade policy with Africa and meet with government officials, representatives of the private sector and members of civil society from 37 different countries.


Rwanda President, Kagame

February 2018, President Kagame held bilateral talks with Zambian Former President, Edgar Lungu. The two Heads of State reviewed the bilateral relations, and discussed issues of mutual interest.

During a joint press conference, President Kagame pledges his commitment to do whatever is humanly possible with his African peers to bring progress and development across the continent.

During this State Visit, both Heads of State witnessed the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding between the two countries.


India and Zambia sign deals for closer co-operation

During an official visit to Zambia, the former Indian president, Ram Nath Kovind, signed four bilateral agreements aimed at cementing economic and cultural ties.

Exchanging views on bilateral and global issues, President Kovind expressed appreciation for Zambia for having signed the International Solar Alliance agreement. He also mentioned that he is looking forward for an early ratification of the agreement from the Zambian side.

President Ram Nath Kovind said, “Zambia and India are time-tested friends. Built on this strong foundation, our bilateral trade and economic engagement has prospered.”

While addressing the forum, Prez Kovind said, “Indian companies have invested significantly in Zambia, especially in mining, telecom, energy and manufacturing. But we can do more. There are opportunities for our businesses to explore from social enterprises to new technology; from community projects to highways; and from ‘Digital India’ to ‘Smart Zambia’.


President of the Republic of Italy

Mattarella’s visit is the first ever made to Zambia by a head of state of a member country of the European Union.

His trip involved a country considered a democratic model within a continent where the defense of democratic values is experiencing a worrying setback (as evidenced by the numerous coups d’etat that have affected the Sahel region in particular in recent years and the numerous security crises).

In this context, Mattarella promised to willingness support Zambian efforts in this sense, also praising the Hichilema government for the determination shown in the fight against corruption, a cancer that Mattarella observed delays any development economic.

In his speech at the State House, Mattarella also revealed the Italian willingness to support Zambia in reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its debt restructuring program.

“Italy is ready to help Zambia in many sectors of the economy such as mining, agriculture, health and education, among others. Zambia is a beacon of peace and a promoter of democratic principles”.


Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Zambian counterpart in Lusaka, signed the 12 agreements cover areas ranging from trade and investment to tourism and diplomacy.

Turkey and Zambia signed 12 agreements in capital Lusaka during the first-ever official visit by a Turkish president to the East African country.

The agreements promised to cover agriculture, stockbreeding, fishery, tourism as well as investment, sports, and diplomacy.


South African President, Ramaphosa Cyril

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa was in Zambia for a working visit.

Ramaphosa during his visit to the country promised bilateral talks on peace, security and defense in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with former President Edgar Lungu.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Cyril Ramaphosa’s working visit will provide an opportunity for the two Heads of State to discuss regional peace and security issues among others. He revealed that during the visit, the two Heads of State will witness the signing of an agreement to establish a Bi-National Commission (BNC), between Zambia and South Africa.


Kenyan President Ruto

Kenyan President, William Ruto also visited Zambia, described Zambians as welcoming and humble people.

“Zambian people are welcoming and this is what we have seen during our stay here. This country also has something to offer in terms of tourism,” he said.

Mr Ruto was speaking at Kasisi Orphanage during his where he had lunch with Acting President Guy Scott and members of staff.

He promised the Zambians some investment opportunities.

Mr Ruto, who donated US$20,000 to the orphanage, said that the continent should be looking at doing intra-Africa business so that economic development is enhanced.

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