PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema’s trip to the United States (US) has drawn the first fruit with the announcement by the US Government of additional US $18.5 million to Zambia.
The funding to support the Zambian people including Zambia’s fight against COVID-19 was made by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power during the meeting President Hichilema on Thursday.
The President and Administrator Power met to discuss U.S. support for the Zambian people and President Hichilema’s ambitious agenda of democratic and economic reforms.
According to a statement released by the US Embassy in Zambia, the USAID was pleased with President Hichilema’s early efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and freedom of expression, since his inauguration on August 24.
She assured of Biden-Harris Administration and USAID in strengthening the U.S.-Zambia partnership, and in his efforts to expand economic opportunities, reduce inequality, end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Power also announced US $1.25 million to help bolster Zambia’s new democratic openings.
“This funding will advance USAID’s activities to strengthen the foundations of freedom of expression and assembly, and will help safeguard a space for activists, human rights defenders, oppositional voices, and independent and new media,” read the statement.
Administrator Power also highlighted USAID’s recent announcement of US $6.7 million from the American Rescue Plan for strengthening the Zambian government’s response to the pandemic.
Since 2020, the US has provided more than US $33.9 million to fight COVID-19 in Zambia in addition to providing vaccines to fully vaccinate over 300,000 Zambians.
The assistance has supported Zambia’s outbreak response, outreach, and communications on COVID-19 prevention measures and vaccine delivery.
Administrator Power announced an additional US $9.6 million from the American Rescue Plan to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV/AIDS programs in Zambia.
Since 2020, the United States has provided more than US $734.3 million to fight HIV and AIDS in Zambia.
Ms Power also announced US $1 million in FY 20 Power Africa Clean Energy funds to strengthen Zambia’s energy sector by continuing and amplifying support for sector reforms to facilitate investment, off-grid networks to expand access to electricity, and health facility electrification to improve health services and benefit neighboring communities.