Bilateral Relations
Home ›  Indo - Zambia Relations  ›  Bilateral Relations

High Commission of India



India-Zambia Relations


The leaders of Zambian freedom struggle, such as Late Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, drew inspiration from the leaders of India’s freedom struggle, particularly Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi continues to inspire and invoke admiration in Zambia and among its leaders, even the younger generation. The warm relations have continued into this century. Over these last several decades, India has come to be seen as a reliable partner and friend and is described by Zambian leaders as an “all weather and time-tested friend”. The relationship continues to be driven by mutual respect and is based in a spirit of partnership for mutual benefit.

Bilateral Visits:

High level visits have been a feature of our historical bilateral relationship. Late Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the first Republican President of Zambia, visited India more than ten times, including as a freedom fighter in 1957 and a state visit in 1967. President Chiluba paid a state visit to India in October 1993. President Mwanawasa paid a state visit to India in April 2003. President Michael Chilufya Sata, accompanied by First Lady Mrs. Christine Kaseba, paid a private visit to India in March 2012 and First President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda paid a private visit to India in June 2012. 

In 2013, Vice President Dr. Guy Scott led a high-power official and business delegation, comprised of Ministers of Commerce, Trade & Industry, Gender and Child Development and Deputy Minister of Mining, to the 9th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave in New Delhi in March 2013 at which Zambia was a Focus Country. Deputy Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufa represented Zambia at the India-Africa Health Forum, held in New Delhi on 24th April, 2015. Ms. Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry participated in the 4th India-Africa Business Forum meeting in New Delhi on 24th October 2015 on the sidelines of IAFS-III. Vice President Mrs. Inonge M. Wina, accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, and Deputy Ministers of Health and Foreign Affairs, represented Zambia at the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi [26th to 29th October 2015]. Zambia’s Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda visited the India-Africa Agro Business Forum in New Delhi in February 2016. A four-member delegation from the office of the Auditor General of Zambia visited India for a study tour from 16-20 January 2017 and another delegation participated in the XXIII Commonwealth Auditors General Conference in Delhi from 21-23 March 2017. Dr. William Kilembe, Director, Zambia-Emory HIV Research Project attended the expert working group meeting for establishing health research collaboration organized by Indian Council of Medical Research in New Delhi on 6-7 April 2017. 

A Zambian Health Ministry delegation, led by Permanent Secretary [Technical] attended the Third India-Africa Health Forum on 19th April 2017 in New Delhi. A delegation from the Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry participated in the 3rd Edition of Global Exhibition on Services in New Delhi in April 2017. Two Zambian Parliamentarians attended a familiarization programme for young Parliamentarians from Africa in India in July/August 2017. Mr. Felix Mutati, Finance Minister of Zambia attended the AfDB Meetings-2017 in May 2017 in Gujarat. Dr. Dennis Musuku Wanchinga, Minister of Water Development and Sanitation visited India in October 2018 to attend the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention. A Parliamentary delegation led by Dr. Patrick Matibiti, Speaker, National Assembly of Zambia, visited India from 17-20 December 2018. At the invitation of Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Science & Technology, Prof. Nkandu Luo, Minister of High Education of Zambia visited India as Special Guest of Honour and Panelist at the Global R&D Summit 2019 which was held from 21-22 February 2019 in Hyderabad.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu paid a State visit to India from 20-22 August 2019. MoUs on Defence Cooperation, Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources, Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine, MoU on Art & Culture; MoU between the Foreign Service Institute of India and Zambian Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies; Cooperation in the field of Elections between the Election Commission of India and  Electoral Commission of Zambia were signed. In addition, an MoU for Zambia’s participation in tele-education, tele-medicine (E-VBAB) was also signed. India also announced support to set up an SME Incubation Centre in Zambia. Indian government also gifted 1,000 metric tonnes of non-basmati rice. Announcement on gifting of 100 tonnes of powdered milk and 100 solar irrigation pumps has remained unfulfilled. Mission has already issued tender for procurement of five fire tenders for gifting to Government of Zambia. 

Ms. W.K. Mutale Nalumango, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia led a Zambian delegation, including Elias Mubanga, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development of the Republic of Zambia, to the 17th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Growth Partnership held on 19-20 July 2022 in New Delhi.  Hon’ble Vice President met the then Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu. Hon’ble Elias Mubanga, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development also met the Minister of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Shri Narayan Rane.  

From India, Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi visited Zambia in 1964 [as I&B Minister] and 1970 and 1976; and President V.V. Giri and President Sanjiva Reddy in 1974 and 1981 respectively. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi undertook a visit in 1986 and President R. Venkataraman in 1989. In January 2010,Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari also paid an Official visit to Zambia.

In August 2014, Secretary [West] visited Lusaka and held talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Gabriel Namulambe and Health Minister Joseph Kasonde. In July 2015, Mr. G. M. Siddeshwara, MoS [State Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises], visited Zambia as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to invite Zambian President for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in October 2015. Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Mines & Steel, met with Ms. Margret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Zambia and the then Acting Minister for Mines on the side-lines of the Mining Indaba at Cape Town [South Africa] in February 2015. A 22-member Indian Parliamentary delegation, led by Hon’ble Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, attended the 134th IPU Meeting in Lusaka in March 2016. An ICCR sponsored cultural troupe performed at the 3rd Livingstone International Cultural Festival during 24-27 March 2016.

Mr. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, participated in the 2016 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank in Lusaka [23-27 May 2016] as temporary Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. On this occasion, a 14-member Exim Bank delegation, led by Shri Yaduvendra Mathur and a 22-member FICCI-led multi-sectoral business delegation also visited Zambia from 22-27 May 2016, to promote the 2017 Annual meetings of the AfDB, due to take place in Gujarat [India] in May 2017. On the sidelines of the AfDB meeting, Exim Bank of India and FICCI jointly organized ‘Africa-India Partnership Day’ on 25th May with focus on health sector. A six-member ICCR-sponsored ‘Light Classical Vocal cultural troupe’ led by Ms Shaila Hattangadi performed live in Lusaka on 4th November 2016. A three member CAG delegation led by Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, paid an official visit to Zambia from 6-8 October 2016. A 40-member PHARMEXCIL-led delegation visited Zambia during 12-15 Feb’17 and held B2B meetings in Lusaka on 13th February and a 16-member EEPC-India led delegation organized a BSM in Lusaka on 3rd April 2017. Dr. Nina Malhotra, Joint Secretary [E&SA], Ministry of External Affairs, led the Indian delegation for the second round of FOCs held in Lusaka on 24th March 2017.

Shri Ram Nath Kovind, the then President of India paid a State visit to Zambia on the invitation of Zambian President from 10-12 April 2018. He held bilateral talks involving a wide range of issues with his Zambian counterpart on 11th April 2018 at State House followed by signing of four MoUs, namely Avoidance of Double Taxation, Setting up of Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Zambia, Visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passport; and Cooperation in the judicial sector. Construction of Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Lusaka as well as medicines and medical equipment worth US$ 3mn to Zambia were also announced. A donation of US$ 100,000 was also announced for renovation of Mahatma Gandhi School in Lusaka apart from donation of US$ 10,000 to Zambia Institute of Special Education. Along with his Zambian counterpart, Hon’ble President also attended the groundbreaking ceremony with his Zambian counterpart for the Lusaka City Roads De-Congestion Project.

A 16-member delegation from National Defence College (NDC) of India, led by Major General Suresh Kumar Mohanty, visited Zambia from 19-24 May 2019 on a study tour. 

Development Cooperation:

 Zambia is among a few African countries considerably benefited from India’s development cooperation programme. India has provided EXIM Bank credits; railway wagons and flood relief grants and lines of credit besides fully paid scholarships for various higher education courses and ITEC training slots as well as specialized capacity building programmes under IAFS. In 1979 and 1982, India extended government and EXIM Bank credits to Zambia totaling Rs. 25 crores. In 1989, India provided railways wagons costing about Rs. 8 crores to Zambia under the Africa Fund. Other assistance such as Maruti vehicles were given to Zambia News Agency and emergency medical supplies. 

 During President Mwanawasa’s visit to India in April 2003, further assistance was provided and India waived off the inter-governmental credit amounting to about $3mn. Zambia has availed more than 3500 ITEC slots and the specialized training programmes flowing from the IAFS-III summit as well as ICCR scholarships.

 120 MW ItezhiTezhi Hydropower Project (ITHP), a joint venture project of Zambia’s State Power utility ZESCO and TATA Power of India, was commissioned in March 2016. Out of the GoI LoC of US$ 50 million for the project, Zambian side had utilized US$29 million. Pan-Africa E-network Project was implemented at three sites in Zambia in 2009: VVIP Centre for Video Conferencing at the State House, Lusaka; Patient End Location at the UTH, Lusaka; and Learning Centre for tele-education at the Mulungushi University in Kabwe was inaugurated on August 16, 2010. E-VidyaBharti (E-VBAB) project is under implementation.

 M/s Afcons a subsidiary of M/s Shapoorji Pallonji group, has completed the US$ 289.5 million Lusaka City Road De-congestion Project. The project was financed by EXIM Bank of India under Buyer’s Credit of US$ 245.74 million and the balanced part was funded by the government of Zambia. The project was jointly launched by Rashtrapati ji Shri Ram Nath Kovind and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu on 12th April 2018 during former’s State visit to Zambia.

 The construction of 650 rural pre-fabricated health posts was announced in 2011 for which an LOC US$ 50 million was signed in 2013. Construction of the health posts commenced in 2014. An additional LOC of US$ 18 million was approved in 2017 to complete the project. As on 31st August 2021, 563 health posts have been completed and are operational. Zambian Health Minister Sylvia Masebo has informed the National Assembly  that remaining 87 health posts would be completed, once the line of credit is reopened.

 In fulfillment of the announcement of Rashtrapatiji during his state visit to Zambia in April 2018, medicines worth US$ 2 million were handed over to Ministry of Health in December 2019. To augment Zambia’s fight against COVID-19, essential medicines including HCQ, weighing 6000 kgs were donated to Zambia in May 2020. As announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister during President Lungu’s visit to India in August 2019, 1000MT of non-Basmati rice was delivered to Zambia in  October 2020. To fulfill the commitment made by  Government of India during the visit of President Lungu in August 2019, the process to procure the five fire tenders is underway.  

 Government of India has included Zambia in the second phase of Cotton Technical Assistance Programme [CTAP]. Zambia signed the Letter of Intent to utilize Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme (DFTP) in May 2010 and in April 2012; it was notified as one of the beneficiaries of the scheme. 

 Fifth meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) was held in New Delhi in 2005. Second India-Zambia Foreign Office consultations were held in Lusaka in March 2017. The Mission has taken up the matter of early convening of FOC and JPC between India-Zambia at an early date. 

Bilateral Trade:

 Bilateral trade has been growing steadily but remains below its potential. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in India for trade and investment with Zambia. 

 In 2018-19, two-way trade stood at US$ 829.55 mn with India’s exports valued at US$ 319.05 mn and imports at US$ 510.50 mn. In 2019-20, bilateral trade touched US$ 1,090.96 mn with the balance of trade heavily skewed in favour of Zambia [India’s exports: US$ 247.64 mn and, imports: US$ 843.32 mn]. During 2020-21, bilateral trade was valued at about US$ 395.37 mn, India’s [imports: US$ 126.50 mn and exports: US$ 268.87 mn]. In 2021-22, bilateral trade reached at US$ 459.15 mn [Zambia Imports: US$ 118.18 mn and, exports: US$ 340.97 mn].

 Drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, transportation equipment, cotton yarn and fabrics, plastic, rubber, chemicals, and electronic goods are major export items from India. India’s imports from Zambia include non-ferrous metals, ores (copper and cobalt), semi-precious stones and raw cotton. 

 The High Commission of India has recently revived the defunct India Business Council of Zambia which has been rechristened as India Zambia Business Council (IZBC), which was recently inaugurated by the Hon’ble Mr. Chipoka Mulenga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry. 

India’s investments:

 Zambia, with its rich natural resources, has become an important destination for Indian investments particularly in the mining sector. With an investment pledge of over US$5 billion, India is one of the leading investors in Zambia. India’s Investments in Zambia include Indo-Zambia Bank, which was established in 1984, as a joint venture between GoZ and three Indian public sector banks i.e. Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Central Bank of India. The three Indian PSUs hold 60% equity with the remaining 40% held by the Zambian government. The IZB operates the largest network of banks and is a cornerstone of Zambia’s banking sector. It has become a byword for banking in the country. It is a milestone in India’s relations with Zambia and is an example of a mutually beneficial, solid joint venture partnerships that has withstood the test of time. 

 Other prominent Indian investments are from M/s Bharti Airtel under the brand Airtel Zambia, investments of the TATA Group including hotel Taj Pamodzi, Tata Motors Ltd, Neelkanth Group of Companies, PLR Projects and Parrogate, Nava Bharat Singapore a subsidiary of the Nava Bharat Ventures Ltd of Hyderabad,  M/s RJ Corporation, the authorized bottlers of Pepsi Co. in Zambia to name a few. In addition, there are several other Indian companies, which have made sizeable investments in various fields of the Zambian economy and trade.

Cooperation in Culture

 A number of ICCR sponsored cultural troupes have performed in Zambia in recent years. An ICCR sponsored cultural troupe performed at the 3rd Livingstone International Cultural Festival during 24-27 March 2016. A six-member ICCR-sponsored ‘Light Classical Vocal cultural troupe’ led by Ms Shaila Hattangadi performed live in Lusaka on 4th November 2016. A 14-member Zambian cultural troupe, hosted by Ministry of External Affairs/Surajkund Mela Authorities participated in the Surajkund Mela from 5-17 February 2019. Ms. Choolwe Mweemba, a Zambian journalist, hosted by ICCR, attended the Kumbh 2019 wherein representatives from around the world also participated, culminating in a meeting with Hon’ble Prime Minister. An ICCR sponsored ‘Vande Bharatam Rekha Dance Group’ also visited Zambia in June 2022 and performed in Lusaka and Ndola. In association with the Ladies Indian Association of Lusaka (LILA), the Mission organised a grand Indian Festival ‘Utsav’. Her Excellency Mrs. Mutinta Hichilema, the First Lady was the Guest of Honour of the event. A six-member  Zambian delegation visited India in July 2022 under the Generation Next Democracy Network  Programme of ICCR. The Mission celebrated the International Day of Yoga 2022  at four different locations including at the iconic Victoria Falls, which was telecast live on Doordarshan. 

Indian Community/PIOs

 Zambia hosts a large and vibrant Indian community, many of whom have settled down in Zambia. It is estimated that about 25,000 PIOs/OCIs are living in Zambia and majority of them have obtained Zambian/other foreign nationality. A large section of PIOs/NRIs are from Gujarat state. It is also estimated that about 5000 NRIs are living in Zambia.  Zambians of Indian origin have played a significant role in Zambia’s economy, especially in trade, industry, pharmaceuticals, edible oils, hospitality and transport sectors. The Indian community is also becoming more engaged in mining, agriculture and trading. During the President Chiluba’s regime, two persons of Indian origin were appointed as the Cabinet Ministers: Mr. Suresh Desai, Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Dipak Patel, Minister of Commerce & Industry who continued to hold the same portfolio in President Mwanawasa’s government. Since March 2019, Ms. Abha Patel, a PIO is a Judge in High Court of Ndola in the Copperbelt Province. In recent years, the renewed rise of India’s economic and commercial engagement has seen a visible growth in the number of Indian professionals especially in Indian owned enterprises.  President Hakainde Hichilema has recently included Mr. Nitesh Patel, a PIO,  as board member of  the reconstituted Industrial Development Corporation Board. Mr. Mulchand(Yogesh) Kuntwala, a PIO, is the current Chairman of the Road Development Agency of Zambia. The community actively participates in various cultural and business events organised by the High Commission, particularly under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. 

Useful Resources at: www.hcizambia.gov.in


October 2022

© High Commission of India, Lusaka, Zambia 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright Policy| Terms and Conditions| Privacy Policy| Hyperlinking Policy | Accessibility Statement | Help|
Page last updated on:Mar 16, 2023 Visitors: 2368664
Powered by: Ardhas Technology India Private Limited