Honourable Minister of Tourism and Arts, Mr Charles Banda [MP],
Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Members of the British Chamber of Commerce and their Zambian business colleagues,
Members of the Conservation community, ladies and gentlemen.
And thank you High Commissioner for the warm and slightly wet welcome here in Lusaka.
It’s a great pleasure to be here today on my first official visit to the Republic of Zambia – one of the oldest members of the Commonwealth family.
It’s also wonderful to be at an event with so many people representing the sectors that together form the important bond between our two countries.
My grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, visited this country in 1979 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting –
and since then, the friendship between Britain and Zambia has remained strong.
Britain is Zambia’s oldest relationship.
It is one that has thrived over the past 54 years, and it continues to evolve - from the UK’s development assistance, to growing mutually beneficial trade and investment.
The British Chamber of Commerce is exemplary of that.
The Chamber, working together with the British High Commission, has launched an effort to contribute to Zambia’s economic development – making it easier to do business in Zambia, and encouraging more British companies to trade and invest here.
There are many well-established British companies here already and more are arriving.
By creating jobs and wealth, the private sector is a catalyst to ending poverty.
Zambia also boasts an impressive portfolio of natural assets - from extraordinarily precious ecosystems, to natural resources, both of which harnessed responsibly and sustainably, will bring prosperity to the entire country.
It’s an honour to have the opportunity to learn more about Zambia – earlier today I met with His Excellency the President, and tomorrow we will pay tribute to the Zambians who served alongside British forces in the two world wars, at Burma Barracks.
I will also have the opportunity to visit Zambia’s first technology and innovation hub called Bongo Hive.
What began as a place to build skills and assist start-ups has evolved into an organisation that has supported and launched some of the most exciting new companies in Zambia and beyond.
I very much look forward to meeting these young entrepreneurs and seeing their projects in action.
Over the past year, I have had the honour of taking on two roles that are dear to my heart.
As President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, and as Her Majesty’s Commonwealth Youth Ambassador; I am committed to celebrating young people across the Commonwealth who are making a difference in their communities.
The goal is to create a platform not only where young people’s voices are heard, but where they are supported in achieving their goals.
I am excited to see some of that work in action tomorrow at Circus Zambia, where The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust has helped young Zambians to achieve their aspirations through education and social enterprise.
Following on from my visit here in Lusaka, I will travel to Kafue National Park to attend the board meeting of African Parks, of which I am very privileged to be President.
It is cause-driven work that is very close to my heart and having a truly remarkable impact.
African Parks has been working together with the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife and other partners, for more than a decade in the Bangweulu wetlands and Liuwa plains.
These parks have become exceptional examples of how people and wildlife can co-exist and benefit in a shared landscape.
Finally, Zambia is home to such amazingly diverse wildlife and natural beauty that is not just important for the tourism sector – they represent some of Zambia’s most important natural resources, which are essential for community development and economic prosperity.
We were delighted to have the Minister of Tourism and Arts attend last month’s Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in London which is a major step forward in ensuring that communities in Zambia benefit from safeguarding and protecting their ecosystems for generations to come.
And I want to pay tribute to the women and men who are passionately devoted to conservation across this nation, some of you whom are here tonight.
Over the next two days I look forward to seeing more of what this incredible country has to offer.
For now, thank you – and Zikomo….