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 that 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.

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, fairly balanced, keeps progressing. 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) is being created. It will be one of the EUZBC pillars, together with the British and German Chambers 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

Since the beginning of its activities in Zambia in 2012, the AFD realized close to 180 M€ of gross commitments. PROPARCO (one of AFD’s subsidiary dedicated to private sector) is also engaged in Zambia and realized 34 M€. The AFD benefits from a branch in Lusaka and operates in 3 main sectors: transportation, energy and sanitation. Agriculture should soon be added to the current list.

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$),
  • Unitaid (46,8 M$)
  • 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.


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 the number one destination for tourism.

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.

The 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 a hundred of students and 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.

RFI is broadcasted and FM, TV5 and France 24 are beginning to be broadcasted as well, thanks to the partnership with ZNBC finalized in 2016.

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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Last updated on: 20 September 2018
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