On September 26, 2023, Mr. Stanley Kakubo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, expressing Zambia’s apprehensions about concurrent global challenges, including war, economic uncertainty, climate change, and food insecurity. He stressed that although these issues have a global impact, they disproportionately affect countries in the Global South.
In a statement released by Henry Kapata, the Director and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Media, Mr. Kakubo stated that Africa has been acutely feeling the effects of instability in global food prices, with over 150 million people on the continent suffering from hunger. This is attributed to various factors, including inflation, climate change, and conflict, all of which have driven up the cost of food and fertilizer. The Russian invasion of Ukraine further disrupted the global supply chain, leading to shortages as agricultural produce could no longer reach international markets.
He pointed out that these challenges have directly impacted food prices in Zambia, as import-dependent countries turned to Zambia to secure their food stocks, contributing to domestic price increases.
“Zambia is now facing the challenge of balancing its own needs with those of the region. While we prioritize the needs of Zambians, we also recognize our responsibility to assist our neighbors, as their stability is fundamental to our prosperity,” added Mr. Kakubo.
Mr. Kakubo emphasized that addressing these global challenges requires international cooperation, urging all parties to engage in considerate decision-making while taking into account the concerns of Africa and the Global South. He revealed that Zambia had called upon the Russian Federation to rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-led initiative aimed at facilitating the transfer of Ukrainian agricultural produce to global markets and stabilizing global food markets.
Mr. Kakubo reiterated Zambia’s deep commitment to promoting peace, security, and stability worldwide. He mentioned that President Hakainde Hichilema had visited Kyiv and St. Petersburg in June to urge negotiations and was actively working with SADC to restore peace in the region. Zambia remains dedicated to playing its role in securing peaceful coexistence for all.