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International Partnerships


Zambia is large and landlocked in the centre of southern Africa. It shares several of its key geographical features with neighbouring Zimbabwe - the Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba (and its hydroelectric capacity), and a stretch of the Zambezi River. It also borders the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika and Tanzania, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, and Malawi. Its population, much of it urban, is estimated at about 18 million.

Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, achieved middle-income country status in 2011 during a decade (2004-2014) of impressive economic growth, averaging 7.4% per year. However, growth only benefitted a small segment of the urban population and had limited impact on poverty. Zambia ranks among the countries with highest level of inequality globally. As of 2015, 58% of Zambians earned less than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (compared to 41% across Sub-Saharan Africa) and 3 quarters of the poor lived in rural areas.

Our priorities

The EU’s cooperation is aligned to the government's priorities and focus on 3 pillars:

  • energy - improved access to clean, reliable and affordable energy
  • agriculture-  reduced rural poverty and improved livelihoods
  • governance - advanced democratic governance, accountability and state effectiveness for all

Our programmes

In 2019, the Annual Action Programme focuses on 3 strands:

Economic Governance Support Programme

The private sector plays a key role in contributing to job creation in the country and, ultimately, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. However, the business and investment environment in Zambia remains challenging to support the private sector’s growth. This programme will support interventions that will contribute to the creation of conducive conditions for private sector growth and development by improving business climate and investment opportunities, employability of youth and by improving the land governance system.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Transformation programme (ZE2ST)

ZE2ST aims at mobilising energy savings, energy services and demand side management to make energy efficiency count in Zambia through policy work, promotion of sustainable investments and job creation, and strengthening state, societal and community resilience. This is in line with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development (Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs 7 and 13), Sustainable Energy for All objectives and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, development policy engagement with Zambia.

Democracy Strengthening in Zambia: Electoral Support 2019 - 2022

The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) assessed the electoral process in 2016, and concluded that the elections were highly competitive and prepared in a largely professional manner. At the same time, the EU EOM highlighted several areas where steps could be taken to enhance the transparency and inclusivity of future elections for consideration of national stakeholders and institutions.

The overall objective of the programme is strengthened democracy, peace and stability in Zambia, while the specific objective is to support national efforts to ensure the transparency, legitimacy and credibility of the 2021 elections.