Zambia-EU Information

Zambia-EU Information


Zambia and the European Union (EU) enjoy a positive and constructive bilateral relationship built on a shared commitment to freedom and democratic values and a like-minded approach to a broad range of international issues. In support of these shared commitments Zambia and the EU work together to support global efforts of fighting against poverty, combating the challenges of climate change and also to promote peace, sustainable development, good governance and human rights.

Key EU institutions

The main institutions of the EU are the European Council, the Council, the Commission and the Parliament.

Bilateral Cooperation

Zambia enjoys a very warm and cordial relationship with the EU. As a block, the EU has continued to support Zambia in its fight against poverty, the promotion of peace and stability, economic growth and prosperity for all Zambians. In terms of trade, the EU remains Zambia’s largest trading partner.

The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Zambia is responsible for managing official relations between the European Union (EU) and Zambia.

These relations are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a global agreement signed in 2000 between African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. The cooperation between the two started in 1975 with the coming into force of the Lomé Convention, precursor to the present Cotonou Agreement. This is the year that the office of the Delegation of the EU was established in Lusaka.

Through the Cotonou Agreement a comprehensive partnership is established based on the three complementary pillars:

The relations between Zambia and the EU are based on the EU Treaty. One of the purposes of EU policy in Zambia is to contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidation democracy, the rule of law and of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Development cooperation is one of the main aspects in Zambia-EU relations. The aim is to foster sustainable economic and social development, Zambia’s smooth and gradual integration into the world economy, in order to reduce poverty in the country. These objectives are confirmed in the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which is the binding agreement that governs the relations between Zambia and the EU.

Further, development assistance to Zambia is in line with the European Consensus on Development, the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals and the aid effectiveness agenda. Along with other Cooperating Partners in Zambia, the EU has been fostering coordination, harmonisation and alignment with the Government, through the Joint Assistance Strategy for Zambia – JASZ.

EU-Zambia relations are further guided by the EU Strategy for Africa which provides a long-term, strategic framework for interaction between Europe and Africa through various institutions including the African Union, regional and national authorities. It defines how the EU can best support Africa’s own efforts to promote sustainable development and reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Economic and Trade Cooperation 

The EU is committed to helping Zambia integrate into the world’s trading system so that the country can benefit from the global economy. While trade is not a guaranteed route to economic growth for developing countries, trade and openness to the global economy play an important role in creating jobs and prosperity in Zambia.

The EU is convinced that international trade is part of the path to sustained economic growth and development and that Zambia needs to make trade a high priority in her development strategies and tackle some structural problems in her economy which hamper business activity. In order to achieve this objective of integration into the world economy, the EU uses the following tools:

  • Bilateral trade: the EU aims, through its trade policy, to ensure that Zambia is able to benefit from duty free and quota free access to the EU market;

  • Investments: The European Investment Bank (EIB) has been a development partner in Zambia for some decades. The Cotonou Agreement mandates the EIB to provide concessional loans alongside grant aid from the European Commission.

  • Aid for Trade: financial assistance specifically targeted at helping Zambia develop her capacity to trade, to produce, as well as the institutional and economic infrastructure necessary to expand trade.

  • Economic Partnership Agreement: recognising that unilateral preferences under Cotonou did not bring about meaningful diversification of their economies, ACP partners agreed to move towards concluding reciprocal and WTO-compatible Economic Partnership Agreements, progressively removing barriers to trade and enhancing cooperation in all areas related to trade.

(iii) Technical and Financial Cooperation

One of the EU Delegation’s main activities is to ensure the effective implementation of EU development assistance to Zambia. Most programmes are financed under the European Development Fund (EDF), the main instrument for providing EU assistance to countries in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), under the Cotonou Agreement.

EDF assistance is in form of grants. Programmes are reflected in the Country Strategy Paper –National Indicative Programme (CSP–NIP), which fits into the five-year cycle of each EDF and is a result of negotiations with the Zambian Government, civil society, EU Member States and other Cooperating Partners.

The main areas of bilateral cooperation are mainly focused on:

(a) Economics and rural development

(b) Infrastructure

(c) Social sectors, support to governance and civil society organisations

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