South Africa and Zambia’s presidents vowed Wednesday to cement their countries’ bilateral relations during a meeting in the capital Pretoria.  

According to a statement, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema paid a courtesy visit to President Cyril Ramaphosa, during which they discussed bilateral issues between their countries. 

“The two leaders also noted progress in the establishment of facilities in Africa for the production of vaccines and other therapeutics that will reach populations around the continent,” the South African Presidency said in a statement. 

During the meeting, Ramaphosa also commended Zambia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, reasserting that developing countries must have equity in developing and distributing vaccines. 

Hichilema is visiting South Africa as an invited guest speaker at a private function. 

South Africa and Zambia, which enjoy cordial bilateral relations, will hold an inaugural binational commission later this year.

Relations between the two countries are underpinned by strong historical and political bonds that date back to the era of the liberation struggle and apartheid colonialism. 

The two leaders also agreed to keep one another abreast of investment opportunities in each country and to actively encourage businesses to invest in areas of mutual benefit for regional development, such as in mineral beneficiation, local manufacturing and agriculture.

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