Director of Protocol and Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom Julian Evans has said Zambia is developing its position as a finance hub in Africa.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde has assured UK based companies doing business in Zambia that the outlook for the Zambian economy continues to be bright and on a positive growth trajectory.
Meanwhile, as Zambia celebrated its 53rd independence anniversary on Tuesday, the Westminster Abbey in London prayed for the country’s leaders and asked God to grant them wisdom and to give them grace to remain faithful to the people they are leading.
During Zambia’s 53rd Independence Celebrations held at Zambia House in London on Tuesday, Representative of both Her Majesty The Queen and the British Government Julian Evans said Zambia’s financial sector is making great strides forward in diversifying its services offered and increase trade, with firms exploring ways to offer more specialised financial products, such as investment banking, portfolio financial packages, and issuance of corporate bonds.
He said improvements made to strengthen the economy and wider financial sector across Zambia have not gone unnoticed.
Mr. Evans said London is the world’s leading financial and professional services Centre, while Zambia is developing its position as a finance hub in Africa saying both have benefitted from strong relationships with one another, which have deepened in recent years.
He said the UK Government is increasing stability and strengthening democratic institutions with the aim of helping Zambia over the longer term, including reducing its reliance on external aid.
Mr. Evans said that several major UK companies operate in Zambia, including Vodafone, Barclays Bank, Zambia Sugar – a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, and Konkola Copper Mines – a subsidiary of Vedanta. On the education side he said both International Leaders Programme delegates and Chevening scholars from Zambia visit the UK.
“Earlier this month Rory Stewart, who is Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and simultaneously a Minister of State at the Department for International Development, visited Zambia. The aim of his visit was to discuss the future of Zambia’s relationship with the UK and to see first-hand the transformational results of UK aid and meet beneficiaries to hear how this support has changed their lives. Our relationship is multi-faceted. In the economy we have been supportive of the Finance Ministry, including giving advice for the annual budget for 2017. In terms of development, we are the second largest donor country (after the US) and are providing key support in priority areas such as healthcare,” he said.
He said bilateral trade between UK and Zambia this year is increasing by around 45 percent over the last decade.
He further said by 2020 UK aid in Zambia will have helped improve the nutrition of over 2 million women, babies and children, given almost half a million more women choice about the size of their family by providing access to modern methods of family planning, provided three million people with access to better sanitation, supported 56,000 children to gain a decent education.
“Additionally we have created 4000 jobs to help people lift themselves out of poverty and will create a further 23,000 by 2020. The total bilateral development budget is over £50 million annually. Development of the Private Sector through UK investment is also key; Tullow Oil, is the latest UK-listed firm to open in Zambia, carrying out initial exploratory work in Luapula Province in northern Zambia. Furthermore, we have an estimated 8,000 British nationals in Zambia, spread throughout the country. Approximately 60,000 British tourists, in addition to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, visit Zambia each year, drawn by such attractions as the Victoria Falls and the South Luangwa National Park,” he said.
And High Commissioner Chikonde said the United Kingdom and Zambia continues to enjoy warm and cordial relations and strong business ties have been formed over decades saying people to people relations have remained a strong pillar of the two country’s bilateral relations.
He was happy to note the increasing participation of UK companies in the Zambian economy such as the CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) Group invest in Zambeef, Prudential in the Insurance services sector, and Tullow Oil in the Oil Exploration. He further invited other UK companies to come and explore investment opportunities in the priority sectors of the Zambian Economy.
He said the recent High level visits to Zambia show the close ties between Zambia and the UK adding that Zambia is delighted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit to Zambia specifically to the Victoria Falls in Livingstone late August this year.
“We were equally honoured to receive the RT. Honorable, the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley in September 2017and Mr. Rory Stewart, Joint Minister of State for the DFID and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Common Office,” he said.
Meanwhile an Evensong was held in honour of Zambia’s Independence Day which fell on 24th October, 2017 and the focus of the service was to pray for Zambia, its leaders and citizens.
During the intercession prayers, the church asked God to grant Zambian leaders wisdom as they lead the people.
“We pray for Zambia and its leaders. God grant wisdoms to its leaders. Give prosperity and integrity to the leaders as they lead the people of Zambia. Let the leaders remain faithful to its people. As they celebrate their national day give them peace and blessing. Bless its leaders, the High Commissioner and diplomatic staff and Zambians who are in the UK,” the church prayed.
Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde read the second lesson which came from the book of Galatians 6 chapter 1-10. The service was attended by all Mission staff and some Zambians who are based in the UK.
Source: Zambia High Commission in the United Kingdom.