Zambia and France have signed various agreements, ranging from €23 million direct budget support, forestry management to Joint Deceleration of Intent meant to deepen the partnership between the two countries.
The Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) were signed in Lusaka on Monday at State House when the French Minister of State for Development and International Partnerships paid a courtesy call on President Hakainde Hichilema.
Hichilema in his comments described the signing of the MoUs, particularly on the €23 million direct budget, as milestone.
He emphasised the importance of these MoUs in managing the Zambian economy through budget transparency and accountability.
‘I cannot over emphasise the importance of the France-Zambia relations and agreed to deepen this relationship
“We are signing a Joint Deceleration of Intent to further develop this partnership, we are very pleased for this. We are signing MoUs in various areas. The MoUs are very important to us and the budget support is a milestone achievement,” Hichilema said.
Acting Finance and National Panning Minister, Felix Mutati, recalled that Zambia lastly got direct budget support during the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).
Mutati stated that the direct budget support was significant as it sent a positive signal to the people of Zambia that government was running the economy in the correct way.
“Today meeting marks direct entrance of direct budget support from France into Zambia. In terms of prudent management of the economy, the transparency and accountability that we have put there is where we are getting direct support.
“We are going to sign this morning a total of €23 million support, in areas including water and sanitation, sustainable management of forestry, mining to support public management finance management. Direct budget support has been absent since the HIPC period,” he said.
On the MoU for forest, Green Economy and Environment Minister, Collins Nzovu, announced the establishment of a €1.5 million project to be financed by the French government to help Zambia manage its forests.
“Zambia-France Forest Partnership following constructive engagement with the French government.
“What we have signed is a partnership which aims to make a comprehensive in forest resources and forest eco-system and how we should sustainably use them,” Nzovu said.
Meanwhile, Zacharopoulou, stressed the importance of economic partnership between the two countries.
“French ministers are working very well with your government. Bilaterally relations are important with 15 French companies operating herea and around 1500 people are employed.
“This is very important because I think they support the Zambian economic, particularly active in the energy sector, including the renewable sector,” Zacharopoulou said.
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