LUSAKA, June 12 - British High Commissioner to Zambia Tim David yesterday said Zambia's political independence is only one step along the road to other fundamental freedoms.
And High Commissioner David said Britain looked forward to a new agreement between Zambia and the International Monetary Fund and progress towards debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative.
During the British National Day, High Commissioner David said the colonial period changed all the many countries involved most radically as it witnessed, on all sides, a mix of motives, both success and failure, both gain and pain.
"1964 saw Zambia recover the political independence that had always been your right. But this was only one step along the road to other freedoms. Both freedoms from - like freedom from hunger, ill-health, corruption, debt, ignorance and, above all, poverty," he said. "And freedoms to -like freedom to exert your rightful weight in regional and global affairs, freedom to choose the form of government and the sectoral policies that exactly match your wants and needs, or freedom to deploy your finances precisely as you wish. It is a road that more than many countries, Zambia is still travelling. As old friends, we wish you well in that journey."
High Commissioner David said Britain wished to remain one of Zambia's leading co-operating partners.
"Thus, we are providing major contributions to the government's education, health and HIV/AIDS programmes totalling 60 million pounds over five years," he said.
High Commissioner David said though there was much more to do, Britain welcomed the signs of real progress being made in all areas they fund.
He also welcomed progress being made at Zambia Revenue Authority, Anti-Corruption Commission and particularly the government's new proposals to strengthen the management of public finances.
"Thus, we also plan to do more to support the private sector, to spur the growth that is needed to create new jobs, and incomes for poor men and women," he said.
High Commissioner David said the fact that Zambia grew by over five per cent last year, and that this year was the sixth successive year of positive growth, suggested that Zambia's reforms were working.
He said the coming year would see many challenges.
"We look forward to a new agreement with the IMF, progress towards debt relief under the HIPC initiative, and more effective implementation of the poverty reduction strategy," he said.
High Commissioner David said Britain was fully committed to the recent memorandum of understanding on harmonisation and better donor co-ordination.
"We see this agreement with government, and amongst co-operating partners, as very important if we are to improve the way aid is channelled to, and used in Zambia," he said.
High Commissioner David said the year ahead would open new possibilities for the growth not only of Britain's relations with Africa but more importantly for development within the continent.
He said Britain was committed to development in Africa hence, the establishment of the Commission for Africa, which will report in 2005.
"Other opportunities to work together in your interests will open with Britain's assumption of the Presidencies of both the G8 and the European Union, the latter in its new, enlarged state. On yours, there is the New Partnership for African Development (NePAD), supported also by the panoply of existing institutions such as SADC, COMESA and, of course, the African Union," High Commissioner David said.
Finance minister Ng'andu Magande said British assistance channelled through the Department for International Development (DfID) had been crucial in implementing the efforts of the Zambian government in promoting development, tackling HIV/AIDS and the reduction of poverty.
He said Zambia considered Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II as a great role model for humanity the world over.
"Her leadership qualities, humble nature as well as her concern for the welfare of people in the former British colonies such as Zambia touch all of us deeply," he said. "We applaud her role in the growth of Commonwealth group of countries whose values are meant to enhance people's liberties and to attain sustainable development."
Magande said Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as head of the Commonwealth, had offered inspirational leadership which had guided the organisation to develop as one united family.