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France and Zambia

Political relations

France maintains excellent relations with Zambia, based on the two countries’ shared desire to contribute to the stability and development of Africa. 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.


After his election in January 2015, President Edgar Lungu met with President François Hollande on an official visit in February 2016, which was the first visit of 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

Economic relations

Trade is limited between the two countries (bilateral trade of €30 million in 2016: French exports to Zambia amounted to €19 million versus €11 million in imports of Zambian products to France). The growing French trade surplus (€4.2 million in 2009 and €18.9 million in 2010, €24 million in 2011, €33 million in 2012, €13 million in 2013, €24 million in 2014, €23 million in 2015) dropped to€8 million in 2016. 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 have recently been won regarding renewable energy and infrastructure.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French support for Zambia first uses European and multilateral channels:

  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and to bolster the healthcare system: $296.7 million for the period 2014-2016. France is the Fund’s second-largest contributor after the United States (with $36 million or 12%);
  • 11ᵗʰ European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020: €484 million prioritizing energy, agriculture and governance.

Bilaterally, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) and PROPARCO have committed €176 million and €92 million respectively in Zambia. The AFD has a field office in Lusaka. It is active in the key fields of transport, energy, water and sanitation.

In terms of cultural diplomacy, three focuses have been identified: (1) support for Francophonie, (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.

Military Cooperation

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: 22 March 2018