Abuja, 8 April 2022 (TDI): The Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama met with the Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Solomon S. Jere. The two representatives discussed the state of the Nigeria-Zambia bilateral relations and some relevant issues.

OVERVIEW OF BILATERAL RELATIONS

Both countries gained independence from Britain in 1960 and 1964. These two states have remained in a good bilateral relationship since they officially established relations.

In the year 2021, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari assured that Nigeria will strengthen its cooperation partnership with Zambia to benefit their people and also the African continent.

At the same time, the Zambian President also called for deeper bilateral relations between the two states. Moreover, the Foreign Minister of Zambia, Joseph Malanji, thanked Nigeria for its “big brother role in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African continent”. 

ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES

The economy, including investment, is a significant area of their bilateral cooperation. According to the data, in 2020, Nigeria exported $27.4 to Zambia, and Zambia exported $832k to Nigeria. During the last 24 years, the exports of Zambia to Nigeria have increased at an annualized rate of 1.05%.

Trade is not the only aspect of Nigeria-Zambia’s economic cooperation, investment also plays a crucial role. As early as 2012, a Nigerian investment bank has partnered with Zambia’s largest distributor of power to mines.

This financial cooperation in Zambia was worth $1 billion which involved six new hydroelectric power stations that had a total capacity of more than 800 megawatts (MW). The project also facilitated the privatization of the electricity sector in Nigeria which showed a common interest in bilateral economic cooperation between the two states.

Except for cooperation involving the government, private enterprises do participate actively too. Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian multi-billionaire investor; also expressed his interest in the Zambia market according to an interview reported in 2017.

Dangote pointed out the significance of diversifying investments in energy and how can it promote Zambia to expand its energy supply both for local consumption; and export to regional markets. Dangote simultaneously emphasized that he will consolidate his existing investment in Zambia, and look for further opportunities.

NIGERIA-ZAMBIA RELATIONS HAVE REGIONAL INFLUENCE

Moreover, the strengthening of relations between Nigeria and Zambia will benefit not only bilateral but also regional cooperation. Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

On the other side, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has its headquarters in Lusaka; the capital of Zambia.

The development of Nigeria-Zambia relations also has essential meaning across the whole African continent. Earlier in 2020, Edgar Lungu, the Zambian President said that they were looking forward to working with Nigeria.

Furthermore, Lungu put special emphasis on their cooperation when the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) takes effect.  His expression pointed out the potential of Nigeria-Zambia cooperation under the umbrella of AfCFTA, a continental strategy.