“Our High Commission has been able to maximize economic diplomacy between Zambia and India”
In this interview held at the High Commission of the Republic of Zambia in New Delhi, H.E. Mrs Judith K.K. Kan’goma-Kapijimpanga, High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia to India, focuses on the deep and abiding relations between India and Zambia. She throws considerable light on the waves of Indian investors who are now making Zambia their second home. She spoke to Sayantan Chakravarty, Editor and Publisher, India Empire Magazine
You yourself have served in ministerial capacities and as Member of Parliament. You bring together vast experience to this job in New Delhi. What is your vision for Indo-Zambian ties, going forward?
We are thankful for the hard work of the Mission and the staff that has managed to work for President Kovind’s visit to Zambia. But, of course, our Vice President did come to India for the Indo-Zambia Summit and before that we had our British Zambian Vice Presidents who also visited India. And he visited Rajasthan where we have a lot of Zambians working in the mines there. We would like to see more of those visits and would like to see several memorandums that we’ve signed take a new pace. We would further like to open up the joint permanent commissions which we haven’t had in a long time. We’re working towards that. And with the advertisements of the expos in the various provinces, the Mission would not leave any stone unturned to ensure that potential investors from India find their feet firmly on the ground on Zambian soil. Also going forward, we as a Mission would like to really ensure that we get a lot of skills-transfer arrangements either through the private sector, or indeed through the Government of India to Zambia. To this effect I want to underscore few months back that we had 20 health personnel come for capacity building for various skills in the healthcare area to Artemis Hospital. This was a skills-transfer arrangement between the Ministry of External Affairs India and the Government of Zambia. So we want to see several of those take place.
And the private sector has also been very vivacious. I want to also indicate that Punjab College of Technical Education did award a 100 per cent tuition-only agriculture degree course. So far we have one Zambian who has started his degree programme. Sonalika Tractors has offered us two slots in the agriculture sector with full sponsorship that includes boarding, lodging and tuition for two Zambians from the most vulnerable communities, of course on merit basis.
We’ve also had 200 slots given to us by Shimla University. So you can see that going forward we are setting benchmarks, especially in technical education. We want to cement our relationships with both private and public universities. We have also seen a lot of interest by the Indian private sector wanting to go and cement relations through textiles. I know India is very good in textiles. And several have expressed the need to go and set up something. I see it is to the advantage of India to cement relations in the area of textiles because Zambia grows its own cotton. We don’t have the machinery, we don’t have a lot of factories—for those who put their feet firmly on the ground, it’d be a good thing as it would have creation of employment in that regard.