By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
President Hakainde Hichilema is scheduled to participate in the Sixth European Union African Union Summit planned for the 17th to 18th February, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo says President Hichilema will also travel to the Vatican City, after accepting an invitation to be granted audience by Pope Francis on Saturday February, 19th, 2022.
Mr Kakubo said the EU AU Summit, which is held every four years, has been convened under the theme: Africa and Europe: Two Continents with a Joint Vision for 2030.
Mr Kakubo said the Summit will provide an opportunity to deepen partnership and greater cooperation to ensure prosperity for mutual benefit.
President Hichilema and other Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe are expected to deliberate on thematic issues which include growth finance; health systems and vaccine production; agriculture and sustainable development; peace, security, governance, and private sector support and economic integration.
“President Hichilema’s participation in the meeting is crucial as it presents an opportunity for him to engage directly with other world leaders and experts, and forge strong partnerships for collaboration particularly in trade and investment for Zambia, on the margins of the Summit, President Hichilema is also expected to hold meetings with President of the European Council Charles Michel,” he said in a statement.
Mr Kakubo said President Hichilema will also meet Josep Borrell Fontelles who is High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Commission Vice President and other high officials including Mr Werner Hoyern, President of the European Investment Bank.
“In addition, the President will hold bilateral meetings on matters of mutual interest with different leaders of Member States of the European Union, the Catholic Church has been instrumental in advocating for socio-economic development and continues to make distinctive contribution in the areas of health and education, including humanitarian affairs,” he said
Mr Kakubo said a meeting with Pope Francis will provide a platform for the two leaders to discuss issues of common interest especially those pertaining to peace which is a prerequisite for economic development.