Foreign relations of Zambia

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia

After independence in 1964 the foreign relations of Zambia were mostly focused on supporting liberation movements in other countries in Southern Africa, such as the African National Congress and SWAPO. During the Cold War Zambia was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Zambia is a member of 44 international organizations, with the United Nations, World Trade Organization, African Union and Southern African Development Community being among the most notable.

Zambia is involved in a border dispute concerning the convergence of the boundaries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. An additional dispute with the Democratic Republic of Congo concerns the Lunchinda-Pweto Enclave.


Kenneth Kaunda visiting communist Romania's dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, in 1970.
Kuanda talking privately with U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1978
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and President of Zambia Levy Mwanawasa meet in New York during the 59th UN General Assembly.

After independence in 1964, Zambia was one of the most vocal opponents to white minority rule and colonialism. President Kenneth Kaunda, who held office 1964–1991, was a very visible advocate of change in Southern Africa. He actively supported UNITA during the Angolan liberation and civil war, SWAPO during their fight for Namibian independence from apartheid South Africa, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and the African National Congress in their fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Many of these organizations were based in Zambia during the 1970s and 1980s. For this reason South Africa as well as Rhodesia carried out military raids on targets inside Zambia. Zambia's support for the various liberation movements also caused problems for the Zambian economy, since it was heavily dependent on electricity supply and transportation through South Africa and Rhodesia. However these problems was partly solved by the Kariba Dam and the construction of the Chinese supported Tan-Zam railway.

For their part in the liberations struggles, Zambia enjoys wide popularity among the countries they supported as well as all over Africa. For instance, former South African president Nelson Mandela often refers to the debt South Africa owes Zambia.[1]

During his presidency, Kaunda met with John F Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. He also clashed with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher on several occasions, disliking her policy towards South Africa.

As with most African states, Zambia was a member of the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War, and is still today. In practice Zambia was more to the left than to the right during the Cold War. The country had good relations with the People's Republic of China and with Yugoslavia. Kaunda is famous in Yugoslavia for crying openly at president Josip Broz Tito's funeral.

Kaunda's successor, president Frederick Chiluba (1991–2002), also played an important role in African politics. His government played a constructive regional role sponsoring Angola peace talks that led to the 1994 Lusaka Protocols. Zambia has provided troops to UN peacekeeping initiatives in Mozambique, Rwanda, Angola, and Sierra Leone. Zambia was the first African state to cooperate with the International Tribunal investigation of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

In 1998, Zambia took the lead in efforts to establish a cease-fire in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Zambia was active in the Congolese peace effort after the signing of a cease-fire agreement in Lusaka in July and August 1999, although activity diminished considerably after the Joint Military Commission tasked with implementing the ceasefire relocated to Kinshasa in September 2001.

International organizations

Zambia is a member of 44 different international organisations. These are:[2]

  • Lomé Convention (ACP)
  • African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • African Union] (AU)
  • Commonwealth of Nations (CN)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Group of 77 (G-77)
  • Flag of IAEA.svg International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • International Criminal Court (ICCt)
  • International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
  • ICRM
  • International Development Association (IDA)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS)
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Interpol
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO, correspondent)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • United Nations (UN)
  • United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE)
  • United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
  • United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU)
  • WCL
  • World Customs Organization (WCO)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • World Tourism Organization (WToO)
  • World Trade Organization (WTrO)

Concerning Zambia's membership in the ICC, Zambia has a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the United States military from prosecution.

United Nations

Zambia joined the United Nations on December 1, 1964,[3] only a month after the nation had become independent. Zambia has a permanent mission to the UN, with headquarters on 237 East 52nd Street, New York. The head of the mission is Tens Chisola Kapoma.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo Rato meeting with the Republic of Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa.

IMF and World Bank

African cooperation

Zambia is a member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union, and was its chairman until July 2002. Zambia also takes part in the unions economical cooperation, the African Economic Community (AEC). Among th AEC's different pillars, Zambia takes part in two; Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the preferential trade area Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

SADC was founded in Zambia's capital Lusaka on April 1, 1980, and COMESA has its headquarters there as well.

International disputes

A dormant dispute remains where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe's boundaries converge; and with the DRC in the Lunchinda-Pweto Enclave in the North of Chienge following concerns on the Zambia-Congo Delimitation Treaty raised with the late President Laurent Kabila. The lack of demarcation beacons, and the citizenship rights of people in that enclave remain thorny issues, especially in Luapula Province.

Zambia and the Commonwealth of Nations

Zambia has been a Commonwealth republic since the 24th. of October 1964, when Northern Rhodesia became independent.

Relations by country


Democratic Republic of the Congo









  • Start date: 1964
  • Russia has an embassy in Lusaka.
  • Zambia is represented in Russia by its embassy in Moscow.

South Africa

Zambia was a strong supporter of the African National Congress during their struggle against minority rule and hosted the ANC for a number of years. In 2009, nearly 52% of all goods imported to Zambia were from South Africa.

South Korea

High-level Exchanges 1991 May Special Envoy Chung Won-shik 1994 October Special Envoy Hong Soon-young 1995 May Special Envoy Kim Hang-kyung 2010 May Economic Mission Kim Jung-hoon (The Republic of Korea-Zambia business Forum).[12]

United States


  • From 1953 to 1963 Zambia and Zimbabwe were, along with Nyasaland (now Malawi) part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.[13]
  • Initially the two countries had good relations after gaining independence. However, relations have recently been strained. Following the controversial Zimbabwean presidential election of 2008, the late Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa described Mugabe's Zimbabwe as a "regional embarrassment".[14]
  • The former foreign affairs minister, Kabinga Mpande, once said Zambia had lodged a protest against Zimbabwe, against the "sustained malicious campaign against Zambia." [15] But relations have improved tremendously with the election of Michael Sata as President of Zambia. It was reported in the Zambian media that Zambia was pushing for the readmission of Zimbabwe into the British led Commonwealth of Nations

See also


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  6. Indian High Commission in Lusaka
  7. Indian mission in Zambia
  8. Zambian Embassy in India
  9. Zambian Embassy in India contact info
  10. Irish embassy in Lusaka
  11. Zambian high commission in London (also accredited to Ireland)
  13. Africa Today Friends, neighbors, and former enemies: the evolution of Zambia-Zimbabwe relations in a changing regional context.(Southern Africa in the Postapartheid Era) by Scarritt, James R. ; Nkiwane, Solomon M.; published 01-JAN-96
  14. "Zimbabwe's neighbours", BBC, June 2008
  15. Zambia protests against Zimbabwe
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