United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote is free to interact with the Zambian government to address the country’s energy crisis provided he follows the laid down diplomatic channels, says Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Trevor Kaunda.
Speaking at a press conference, Monday, Ambassador Foote revealed that his government brought energy experts to work with the Zambian government to improve the energy sector and narrow the country’s huge energy deficit, but lamented that the plans had been dormant because of “domestic politics”.
He also noted the impact Zambia’s drought had this year, adding that he was yet to announce additional American help to areas most affected by hunger.
“I agree that we should be working to improve critical issues like food security and the electricity shortage, but Americans can’t do it alone without cooperation from your government. The US brought energy experts to work with Zambian ministries for over two years and we jointly-developed a plan to reform the sector and ensure better electricity delivery to the people. This plan has been dormant for over a year because of domestic politics! We have seen this awful impact of the drought and I expect to imminently announce additional American help for those most affected by hunger,” said Ambassador Foote.
But Kaunda said while he could not comment on Ambassador Foote’s allegations that the US government’s plans to help solve Zambia’s energy crisis had been dormant due to domestic politics, the US Envoy was free to re-engage government.
“Yes, I can confirm that there’s a gentleman called ‘Tony’ attached to the office of the Minister of Finance who consults with several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Energy at all levels in the Ministry. We work with him on a number of electricity matters. I may not comment on the allegations of dormant plans, but the Ambassador is free to interact with the Zambian government through the laid-down diplomatic channels to discuss any areas of concern on either side,” said Kaunda in a brief interview in Lusaka, Wednesday.