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Deputy Minister Martin Tlapa held bilateral inter-ministerial consultations with Zambia
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Deputy Minister Martin Tlapa held bilateral inter-ministerial consultations with Zambia

 

On 17 March 2021, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Tlapa held bilateral political consultations with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chalwe Lombe. The main topics of discussion included assisting Zambia's health sector to deal with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, evaluating development cooperation between the two countries, promoting economic and trade cooperation, and discussing the development of strategic relations between the EU and Africa.

Zambia is one of the six priority countries for the Czech development cooperation worldwide and together with Ethiopia one of two in Africa. The volume of the development assistance amounts to approximately USD 3 million yearly and has been gradually increasing in the last years. It focuses on agriculture and rural development, primarily on increasing productivity and income of small-scale farmers and introduction of sustainable and resilient agricultural practices.

Deputy Minister Tlapa appreciated the good cooperation with Zambian partners, stating that the Czech Republic would welcome suggestions for further joint activities in accordance with Zambia's current goals in the development of the agricultural sector.

Permanent Secretary Lombe also appreciated that the Czech Republic has been regularly providing humanitarian assistance to Zambia. It focuses mainly on increasing resilience and preparedness for natural disasters and support to refugees and hosting communities in Zambia. This applies in particular to refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Permanent Secretary Lombe also praised the Czech Republic's annual assistance in the form of ten scholarships for Zambian students.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Czech Republic has mobilized additional resources in the amount of approximately USD 2.6 million to help Zambia to cope with this crisis through provision of medical, testing and protective equipment for health facilities throughout the country, mobile laboratories, financial support to affected households and small businesses, as well as awareness raising and improvement of water supply and sanitation. The Czech Republic will also provide Zambia with beds and other medical equipment for the intensive care unit of the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.

Deputy Minister Tlapa and Permanent Secretary Lombe appreciated that despite the negative effects of the pandemic on economic development, both parties were succeeding in developing their economic and trade cooperation. For example, in the new Bonanza Resort on the outskirts of Lusaka has already been completed the installation of the first Czech mini-brewery supplied by the company Technoexport. The Czech Republic also supports several projects for the development of the private sector in the country, which focus, among others, on water wells rehabilitation and development of small hydro power plants, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and the processing and marketing of cassava. The Czech company VVS Verměřovice has established itself as a successful supplier of animal feeds to Zambia.

During the discussion on regional issues, Deputy Minister Tlapa and Permanent Secretary Lombe agreed on the need to find a solution to stabilise the situation in the terrorist-stricken northern part of Mozambique, so that the destabilization does not spread to neighbouring areas. Regarding relations within the EU-Africa strategic partnership, they agreed that the current priority should be addressing the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on both regions. An important area remains the collaboration in the area of peace and security, which is reflected, among others, by both sides´ stabilisation efforts in the Sahel.

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