Bilateral relations

Because of its significant economic potential and its engagement for peacekeeping and stability in the region, Zambia plays a key role in Southern Africa.

France and Zambia have built a very positive relationship since 1964 (France was among the first countries to recognize the independance of Zambia, and to open an embassy in Lusaka); this relationship keeps growing year after year, and both benefit from a 360 degree partnership that covers political relations, economic relations, trade and investment and development relations. I am the 19th French ambassador in this country.

Political relations

The French Embassy to Zambia opened from Zambia’s independence in 1964. Since then, France and Zambia have been building a strong relationship based on their common will to contribute to the Africa’s stability and development. France’s actions in Zambia aim at strengthening the bonds of friendship and trust between the two countries.

Furthermore, France has been since 2003 an observer member of the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), which headquarters are in Lusaka.

Defense cooperation

The Defense cooperation aims at helping Zambia back up the African Union and the UN in peacekeeping operations in which Zambia is involved. Every year, operational trainings take place with the collaboration of the Armed Forces of the Southern zone of the Indian Ocean (FAZSOI); French classes are taught at Kabwe’s military academy and to all soldiers interested through the Alliances Françaises of Lusaka and Livingstone.

Economic relations

About forty French companies are settled in Zambia, and the bilateral trade between France and Zambia, fairly balanced traditionally, keeps progressing as a trend.
But in 2018, bilateral trade declined by 15%, at 36 millions euros. French exports to Zambia increased (+14%), for the second year (+27% in 2017 compared to 2016) but exports of Zambia to France went down by 53%, due to less copper exports. So the balance remained positive for France in 2018 (20 millions euros). And this level is far from the potential:France and Zambia remain minor trade partner to each other, each one representing less than à,1% in its respective world market share.

French companies have realized significant investments in Zambia (Total, Lafarge and Bollore for instance). From the Zambian side, there have been for now no significant investment in France, but a strong potential exists.

In July 2015, a branch of the Council of the French Foreign Trade Advisors (CCEF) was created.

French companies are involved in the European Union-Zambia Business Club (EUZBC), officially launched on the 8th of June 2016.

A Franco-Zambian Chamber of Commerce (CCFZ) has been created last year. It is one of the EUZBC pillars, together with the British Chamber of Commerce.

Like in other similar countries, Business France and the Chamber will share the task of helping French companies settle in Zambia (Business France will be in charge upstream, then the Chamber will take over).

Development cooperation

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is one of the three largest Development Financial institutions (DFI) within the European Union, and finances projects that promote sustainable development. AFD began its activities in Zambia in 2012 and benefits from a branch in Lusaka.
Its current portfolio is almost 300m euros, with major projects in 3 main sectors : energy (with ZESCO) ; road transportation ; water and sanitation. Agriculture should soon be added to the current list.

Projects
- Energy (ZESCO) : Itezhitezhi Hydro (transmission lines, USD34.4M) ; Southern Division sustainability supply (40 millions euros).
- Mulonga water (50 millions euros).
- Great East Road (53 millions euros).

Technical assistance grants
In addition, AFD has a capacity building Fund of 500.000 euros with the Ministry of Finance, and has further provided technical assistance:
- to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) for 200.000 euros.
- to Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for 200.000 euros
- and to Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme (ZCGS) for 100.000 euros.

One of AFD’s subsidiary dedicated to private sector, PROPARCO, is also engaged in Zambia so far for 76 Millions US dollars : Itezhitezhi Hydro power station (36 millions), Zanaco (20 millions) and CEC (20 millions).

French aid also transits through European and multilateral channels:

France is one of the main contributors to the European Union budget, which supports Zambia within the framework of the 11th European Development Fund (FED, 2014 – 2020): 484 M€ dedicated to energy, agriculture and governance. It is the same with the UN agencies. For instance, France is the 3rd contributor to the multilateral programs fighting against AIDS in the world.

Since 2002, France donated 182 million dollars in Zambia to: the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and for the strengthening of the health system (127,7 M$), Unitaid (46,8 M$) and GAVI (7 M$)

France is also an important contributor to the World Bank and the African Development Bank, which both finance many projects in Zambia.

Tourism

In 2016, 9 000 French tourists visited Zambia, which remains far below the potential. The visit of Zambian tourists to France is also very low, even though France is number one world destination.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The Alliance Française of Lusaka, created in the sixties, moved in its current facilities in July 2001. Run by a French expatriated director, the Alliance welcomes 700 students and remains the main foreign cultural center in Zambia. Two more Alliances exist, one located in Ndola, the other in Livingstone.

Campus France agency opened a branch in April 2016 and is settled in the Alliance Française facilities.

The French school Champollion, also created in the sixties, became the French School of Lusaka in September 2017. Affiliated to the AEFE and managed by a French expatriated headmaster, the school counts 130 pupils from 30 different nationalities.

The bilateral relation between France and Zambia benefited from the signature in 1980 of a cultural cooperation agreement.

The French language is, in theory, the second language taught in secondary school in Zambia, as learning French is attractive to ease the access to West Africa, but in practice, French is not very widespread (mainly in good private schools).

RFI is broadcasted and France Media Monde (TV5 and France 24) are beginning to be broadcasted as well, thanks to the partnership with ZNBC finalized in 2016. Journalists from France 24 come to Zambia for trainings of ZNBC counterparts, every six months.

Our three main lines of action for our cultural diplomacy are: the support of the French language, the cultural action mainly managed by the Alliance Française of Lusaka and establishing exchange programs and partnerships between schools, especially with engineering schools.

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