Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday morning. Following the audience with the Holy Father, President Hichilema met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Monsignor Mirosław Wachowski, the Undersecretary for Relations with States.
A statement from the Holy See Press Office indicated some of the major topics covered by the “cordial discussions,” including aspects of the country’s economic and social situation, and the valued contribution of the Church in various sections of society. The issue of universal access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatment was also treated, as well as the possibility of further study with regard to the drafting of a bilateral agreement between Zambia and the Holy See, “as a further sign of respectful cooperation.”
Exchange of gifts
During the papal audience, Pope Francis presented President Hichilema with a mosaic of the biblical figure of Noah, with the words “With Noah God opens a way of salvation, for creation and for every human being.” The Holy Father also gave the president a collection of documents from his pontificate, including the 2022 Message for Peace; the Document on Human Fraternity; and a book on the Statio Orbis of 27 March 2020, when Pope Francis prayed for and with the whole world to overcome the coronavirus emergency.
For his part, President Hichilema offered Pope Francis a sculpture in wood and copper representing the typical musical instruments of Zambia.