HomeInternational NewsHichilema, Aku-Addo hold game-changer meetings with Kamala Harris

Hichilema, Aku-Addo hold game-changer meetings with Kamala Harris

Hichilema, Aku-Addo hold game-changer meetings with Kamala Harris

By Pearl Matibe (in Washington DC)

United States Vice President Kamala Harris met with President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia on Wednesday, September 22, and on Thursday, September 23, met with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. The United States was delighted to host two pro-democracy, recently elected African Heads of State at the White House for in-person bilateral meetings.

President Hichilema made history by becoming the first-ever African Head of State to visit the White House during President Biden’s presidency.

In the meeting with Zambia’s leader, Harris said it was an “honour and pleasure” to welcome him to the White House. She said it was the first time that a Zambian President has visited the White House since 1992.

“Last month we watched as a historic number of Zambians voted for you,” she said. “I would say that is democracy in action.”

Vice President said that issues they would discuss include global health, security and climate. She mentioned her “fond memories” of visiting Zambia as a child. She said she had shown Hichilema a photo of her at five years old in Zambia.

Her remarks were followed by those of Hichilema. He, too, said that “We’re very grateful to be here invited to the White House.” He stressed the importance of valuing democracy and said he intends to deliver for the people of Zambia.

Vice President Harris’ White House delegation that met with President Hichilema included Tina Flournoy, Chief of Staff, Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, National Security Advisor, Dr Phil Gordon, Deputy National Security Advisor, Jessica Davis Ba, Senior Coordinator and Special Advisor for Africa, Dana Banks, National Security Council Senior Director for Africa, and David Young, U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Zambia.

The re-election of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana on 9 December 2020 was met with enthusiasm by the international community as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.

Similarly, when President Hakainde Hichilema defeated Edgar Lungu in a landslide election with a margin of more than a million votes, the U.S. praised the electoral win of August 12th.

Working quickly, the U.S. hosted both leaders at the White House where they met with Vice President Kamala Harris in her Ceremonial Office, in two separate bilateral meetings; one for Zambia on Wednesday and one for Ghana the following day.

Senior administration officials, close to Vice President Kamala Harris, said in a meeting convened on the morning of the bilateral said that the meeting Vice President Harris is holding were to help advance President Biden’s agenda to rebuild alliances and to restore America’s global leadership.

They referred to President Biden’s maiden speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that stressed two points that the Biden-Harris Administration says are key in. “guiding everything that we do for the course of this week and for the course of our foreign policy.”

One senior administration official emphasized that President Biden said that the U.S., “is at an inflection point in history.

The White House confirmed that President Hichilema and Vice President Harris, “affirmed shared values that unite the U.S. and Zambia, and the Vice President and President Hichilema agreed to deepen collaboration on a number of important issues including health and pandemic preparedness and response.

They also discussed measures to advance good governance and the rule of law in order to build strong institutions.  The Vice President applauded President Hichilema’s focus on prioritizing necessary reforms and his efforts to stabilize and grow the Zambian economy.

The Vice President welcomed the establishment of new partnerships to deepen the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Zambia.”

Hichilema, Aku-Addo hold game-changer meetings with Kamala Harris

Similarly, Vice President Harris, “applauded Ghana’s role as a democratic model in Africa, and highlighted Ghana’s efforts to strengthen government transparency and accountability.  The two leaders also discussed opportunities to advance health security, defence cooperation and regional security, including by promoting peace and inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia,” the White House explained.

The Zambian delegation was made up of 6-people. President Hichilema was accompanied by Situmbeko Musokotwane, Minister of Finance, Stanley Kasongo Kakubo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lazarous Kapambwe, Ambassador of Zambia to the United States, Mr Bradford Munalukupe Machila, Principle Private Secretary, Mr Jito Jakatabala Kayumba, Economic Advisor to the President, and Dr Lawrence Mwananyanda, Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation.

Earlier this year, Ghana was elected to the United Nations Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. Ghana has a population of more than one and a half times that of Zambia. Its population is 31,072,945, 58% of which are urban and 42% are rural. It has received $936 million in development assistance. In contrast, Zambia has received $976 million.

The USAID classifies both Ghana and Zambia as a lower middle-income country based on how the World Bank divides economies into income groupings based on a country’s gross national income per capita, in U.S. dollars, converted from the local currency. The GNI per capita would have had to be $1,045 or less in 2020 for the country to fall into the lower-middle-income group.

Zambia has an urban population of 45% and a rural population of 55% that make up its population of about 18,383,956 in 2020, according to the most recent World Bank data.

Earlier this month, the U.S. announced that Zambia will receive an additional ZMK 112 million (US$6.7 million) in COVID-19 assistance from the United States Government, through its agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Both Presidents Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Hakainde Hichilema were in the United States for the U.N. General Assembly held annually for world leaders in New York City but travelled to Washington, D.C. for the White House bilateral meetings. During the week, on Thursday.

Washington, DC-based foreign correspondent, and media commentator, Pearl Matibe. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe

Hichilema, Aku-Addo hold game-changer meetings with Kamala Harris

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