France maintains excellent relations with Zambia, based on the two countries’ shared desire to contribute to African stability and development. Our Embassy in Lusaka is competent for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional organization in which France has participated as an observer since 2003.
Following his election in January 2015, President Edgar Lungu was received the next year on an official visit by President François Hollande, in the first visit by a Zambian Head of State since 1983. During this visit, several partnership agreements were signed between France and Zambia.
Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, responsible for International Climate Relations, visited Zambia in August 2015 ahead of COP21, and again in May 2016 for the 51ˢᵗ Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Zambian Minister of Finance Felix Mutati visited Paris on 23 January 2017, meeting with his counterpart, Michel Sapin. French Minister of State for Development and Francophonie Jean-Marie Le Guen visited Lusaka on 2 and 3 March 2017 and met with Vice President Inonge Wina and Minister of Finance Felix Mutati. In late February 2018, Zambian Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Kampamba Mulenga visited the International Agricultural Show in Paris.
For more information, visit: the website of the French Embassy
Trade is limited between the two countries (bilateral trade of €36 million in 2018: French exports to Zambia amounted to €27.5 million versus €8.5 million in imports of Zambian products to France). The French trade surplus fell 6% between 2014 and 2018. French exports are driven largely by the sale of mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment. France imports manufactured and agricultural products from Zambia. Some 40 French businesses are working in the country. Several contracts were won in 2016 and 2017 regarding renewable energy and infrastructure.
French support for Zambia first uses European and multilateral channels:
- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: $296.7 million for the period 2014-2016, to which France was the second-largest contributor after the United States (with $38 million, or 13%).
- 11ᵗʰ European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020: €484 million (French share: 17%), prioritizing energy, agriculture and governance.
Bilaterally, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has been active in Zambia since 2006, and its total commitments stand at €180 million (including €34 million from Proparco, its subsidiary for the private sector). The AFD has a field office in Lusaka. It is active in the key fields of transport, energy, water and sanitation.
In terms of linguistic and cultural diplomacy, three focuses have been identified: (1) support for Francophonie; France being the leading foreign language taught in Zambia; (2) cultural action implemented first and foremost by the Alliance Française in Lusaka as the capital’s main cultural centre; and (3) implementation of projects for exchanges and partnerships between universities, engineering schools in particular. The French school in Lusaka is also a major contributor to our outreach.
Military cooperation focuses largely on teaching French at the Zambian military academy at Kabwe and on training Zambian units to be deployed in peacekeeping operations.
Updated: November 2019