SCOTLAND’S International Development Minister said that he wants to “deepen existing relationships with Zambia” as he arrived in the country to continue the Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Humza Yousaf is making the first visit to the country by a Scottish Government Minister.
He accompanied the Baton on its flight from Malawi, as part of its 288-day journey around all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
He saw the baton off on its relay through Lusaka alongside Zambian Vice President Guy Scott, whose parents are both from Glasgow.
Mr Yousaf said: “The arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay symbolises Zambia and Scotland’s shared history, and our shared future.
“Our relationship with Zambia goes back many years, to the days when David Livingstone was the first European to see the Victoria Falls.
“The run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games give us an unrivalled opportunity to deepen existing relationships with Zambia and to make new connections, and with other countries around the Commonwealth.
“As the first Scottish Government Minister to visit Zambia, in this, the country’s 50th anniversary of independence, I want to strengthen the links between our countries.
“We want to build on our links with Zambia and to work together, especially in the area of climate change, and I am looking forward to speaking with Ministers and ordinary Zambians and seeing the work being done by Scottish development organisations on the ground. We’ll also be exploring how we can take the relationship beyond aid and looking to develop an ethical trade relationship.”
During his visit Mr Yousaf also met the Zambian Minister of Finance Alexander B Chikwanda before attending a Civil Society Event on Climate Change, hosted by Oxfam Zambia with whom the Scottish Government partners in a Climate Justice Fund project.
Zambia is one of the priority countries under the Scottish Government International Development Programme which has funded food security projects in Zambia worth £2.7 million through the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).
The Scottish Government Climate Justice Fund has also given nearly half a million pounds to help poor farmers adapt to climate change.