President Hichilema, VP Harris Confer at White House
Washington D.C., Wednesday 22 September 2021 – President Hakainde Hichilema Wednesday met with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House as Zambia and the United States of America exchanged strong commitments to further the abiding ties between the two countries and to further strengthen democracy.
President Hichilema’s official visit is the first for any Zambian President since President Dr Frederick Chiluba in 1992. The only other official visit by a Zambian head of state was by founding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
Before settling down to closed door talks, the two leaders noted the significance of President Hichilema’s visit, a tour of duty that is set to deepen the friendship between Zambia and the USA and bring huge dividends to the country over the coming years.
Vice President Harris underscored the significance of President Hichilema’s visit as she outlined several key areas of cooperation as well as expressed admiration for Zambia’s recently held general elections, polls which were held under difficult circumstances. She called for more cooperation in matters related to global health and COVID-19, tackling climate change, investment in renewable energies, accelerating ventures and businesses that contributed to enhanced economic growth. Vice President Harris shared her fond memories of Zambia with the President and “warmly welcomed him to the White House.”
President Hichilema expressed gratitude for the invitation to visit the White House. “We are very grateful to be here, to be invited to the White House after so many years of leaders before us who were not able to be invited here, so we feel honoured Vice President that we are here,” President Hichilema said adding: “I must congratulate you. You and the President for winning the election here in a decisive way. I think we are following in your footsteps. We too were delivered by the people of Zambia in a substantial way under very difficult circumstances; democratic space not being available, since you talked about democracy.”
President Hichilema commended Vice President Harris for addressing “most important issues on democracy which he said were critical for good governance and delivering what he may called democracy dividends. “Delivering economic growth to offer opportunities for our people. I think vice president, that’s what will sustain democracy,” he said. He showcased the new Green Economy ministry which will help deliver growth and development without affecting posterity’s prospects.
The President’s busy schedule in Washington continues through Thursday with several high-level engagements.