Zim, Zambia broaden cooperation

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE and Zambia yesterday kicked off the 18th session of the two countries’ Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), with both SADC member-states pledging to build on the already existing cordial bilateral relations.

The two countries’ relations continue to grow in leaps and bounds as cooperation across various sectors is on an upward trend.

The previous JPCC between the two countries saw various agreements being signed including MoUs on the establishment of the Victoria Falls-Livingstone One-Stop Border post, an MoU concerning cooperation on the management and preservation of Zimbabwe Liberation War gravesites, another on culture and one on gender equity, equality, and women economic empowerment, among others.

These subsequently set the tone for the 18th session which will see more agreements being signed in various areas.

Addressing delegates at the official opening of the session in Harare yesterday, acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and international Trade Ambassador Rofina Chikava said Harare and Lusaka shared a strong bond that transcends boundaries.

This, she said, had been evidenced by Zambia’s recent call for a total removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

“Co-chair, let me start by acknowledging the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Zambia. Characterised by high-level visits between the two countries, these relations have continued to grow and can be traced back to the times when Zimbabwe was fighting for liberation from the colonial Britain.

“In the post-colonial, the two countries have continued to enjoy strong diplomatic ties and co-operation in various sectors. We acknowledge and applaud our dear brothers in Zambia for standing with us in calling for the removal of all sanctions imposed on our country.

“Let me also highlight the bilateral history between Zimbabwe and Zambia, which has a significant impact on the political, economic, and social development of both countries,” she said.

Ambassador Chikava said the two countries continue to cooperate not only on regional issues, but also on various international fora which have furthered their solidarity and shared identity.

“Zimbabwe and Zambia have supported each other in various international forums, advocating for common interests and promoting peace and stability in the region. The two countries continue to witness cultural exchanges and people-to-people interaction, further strengthening the ties between Zimbabwe and Zambia and fostering a sense of solidarity and shared identity.

“Educational exchanges, joint research projects, and sports competitions have all contributed immensely in the connection between the two nations, enhancing the mutual understanding and cooperation.

“Co-chair, we were sharing when we were sitting in our tête-à-tête meeting that even at football, we can fight as Zambia and Zimbabwe, if one goes forward, the other country supports the other for the integrity of our two countries,” she said.

Zimbabwe and Zambia, said Ambassador Chikava, were making concerted efforts to mitigate their respective citizenry from climate change effects.

Thus the cushioning of both peoples was a top priority.

Zambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Etambuyu Gundersen said the two countries would continue enhancing their co-operation for their mutual benefit.

“You will recall that at the last session which was held in Lusaka in 2018, our two sides agreed to enhance co-operation in various areas.

“These include foreign affairs, tourism, energy, trade, industry, finance, agriculture, infrastructure, transport and communications, livestock and fisheries, education, as well as youth and sport, just to mention a few.

“Since then, we are still collaborating on the implementation and operationalisation of specific programmes, such as the one you mentioned, Victoria Falls-Livingstone One-Stop Border Post, in addition to the harmonisation of ICT systems at Chirundu, Kariba and Victoria Falls borders, among others,” she said.

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