Kenya and Zambia enjoy historical warm and cordial diplomatic relations that have existed since the two countries became independent. Being members of several organizations including the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Commonwealth and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the two countries have a lot in common.
The two countries cooperate in a wide range of areas within the framework of the Agreement establishing the Kenya Zambia Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation that was signed by the presidents of the two countries on 8th September, 1982. The Joint Permanent Commission has the mandate of planning and implementation of programmes of cooperation with a view to promote development of both countries. The Sixth meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission was hosted by Zambia from 26th to 28th July, 2004. Kenya hosted the Seventh Session in Nairobi from 19th to 20th March, 2009.
Within the framework of the agreement, the two countries have recently made beneficial exchange of experience in:
- Agriculture and livestock development;
- Public service reform programmes;
- Road safety and management of road infrastructure;
- Culture; and
- Immigration and border security operations.
The legislative Assemblies of the two countries have also cooperated with a view to sharing experiences. In addition, the military institutions of the two countries have continued to cooperate in exchange of students at each other’s learning and training institutions.
Trade between Kenya and Zambia has continued to register steady growth over the years. This may be attributed to the launch of the COMESA Free Trade Area in 2001, bilateral arrangements between the two countries and promotional activities by the mission. Kenya’s exports to Zambia comprise of edible oils, margarines, iron sheets, steel pipes & products, detergents, baking powder, kitchen & table wares, spices, blankets, beauty products, toiletries, irrigation pumps, tyres, soft tissues, exercise books and textiles & crafts. Imports from Zambia comprise of copper & copper products, maize seed, electrical conductors, tobacco, corrugated sheets of asbestos and precious stones.
Kenya’s top imports from Zambia include copper wire or refined, maize seed, electric conductors, butane, liquefied gas, waste and scrap primary cells, crude vegetable material, pig iron, tile of asbestos, and ferro silicon
Kenyan investors in Zambia include;
- Kenya Airways which operates two daily flights to Lusaka, six weekly flights to Ndola and daily flights to Lilongwe connecting Lusaka-Lilongwe to Nairobi. Davis and Shirtliff which deals with water pumps and irrigation equipment,
- Kobil which operates stations dealing with petrol and petroleum products, and
- Mastermind Tobacco which through its Zambian company, Continental Tobacco distributes its tobacco products in the Zambian market.
- Manzi Valley, a Kenyan Investor bottling mineral water and a market leader in the industry;
- Mayfair Zambia Insurance Company Limited,
- There are other Kenya nationals who have invested in various sectors including manufacturing, farming, hospitality, food processing, Information technology and consultancy,
- Western Pumps.
With a view to enhancing bilateral trade volumes and scope, Kenya has consistently participated at the annual Zambia International Trade Fair (Ndola) and the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show (Lusaka) where she has emerged winner in the Best International Exhibitor category several times. Kenya participates in the two events through the High Commission in liaison with the Export Promotion Council and Kenyan manufacturers and small scale traders.