On Tuesday 26th September, 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. Stanley Kakubo addressed the United Nations General Assembly where he expressed concern at the overlapping challenges of war, economic uncertainty, climate change and food insecurity.
Mr. Kakubo told the General Assembly that these issues, while global in nature, are adversely affecting countries in the Global South.
“In Africa we are feeling the effects of instability in global food prices particularly acutely – more than 150 million people on the continent are suffering from hunger. This is due to a convergence of factors – including inflation, climate change, and conflict – driving up the cost of food and fertiliser. The Russian invasion of Ukraine also disrupted the global supply chain, leading to shortages as agricultural produce was no longer able to reach international markets,” Mr. Kakubo said.
Mr. Kakubo stated that this has directly impacted food prices in Zambia in that import-dependent countries have turned to Zambia to secure their own stocks, contributing to price increases domestically.
“Zambia now faces the challenge of balancing its own needs with those of the region. While we will always prioritise the needs of Zambians, we must also recognise our responsibility to help our neighbours – their stability is fundamental to our prosperity,” said Mr. Kakubo.
Mr. Kakubo told the General Assembly that addressing these global challenges required international cooperation.
“Zambia urges all parties to engage in considerate decision making, taking into account and listening to the concerns of Africa and the Global South. As a first step, we have called upon the Russian Federation to re-join Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-led initiative facilitating the transfer of Ukrainian agricultural produce to global markets and help stabilise global food markets,” Mr. Kakubo appealed.
Mr. Kakubo emphasised that Zambia remains deeply committed to furthering peace, security and stability around the world. He told the Assembly that in June this year, President Hakainde Hichilema visited Kyiv and St. Petersburg to urge negotiations. The President continues to work in partnership with SADC to restore peace where it is lacking in the region. Mr. Kakubo said Zambia is committed to playing her role in helping secure a peaceful coexistence for all.