If you are interested in increasing the number of Russian State scholarships for Zambian students, we are ready to consider and satisfy this request, Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko has told President Edgar Lungu.

And Matviyenko says Russia has adopted a law that allows foreign students studying at Russian Universities to have a legal job and work as they study in that country.

Speaking when she addressed Parliament during her special visit to Zambia, Tuesday, Matviyenko announced that her country was ready to increase the number of State-sponsored scholarships for Zambian students.

She also invited Zambian female leaders, including First Lady Esther Lungu, to attend the 2021 Eurasian Women’s Forum, which will be held in St Petersburg, Russia.

“The share of Zambians that study in Russia has been traditionally very high. In terms of Russian allocated State scholarships, Zambia ranks as one of the leaders of the African states. And today (Tuesday), during my talks with the President (Edgar Lungu), I said that: ‘if you are interested in increasing the number of Russian State scholarships for Zambian students, we are ready to consider and to satisfy this request.’ Russia is training national Zambian personnel in such areas as nuclear energy. Rosatom, a state company, has allocated 30 State scholarships and, of course, it will make a significant contribution to the development of our cooperation in this area. Zambia is planning to implement a large-scale project to build Russia-Zambia Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology,” Matviyenko said.

She said her country had adopted a law that allowed foreign students in her country to be working while studying.

“Let me mention that Russia pays special attention to ensuring comfortable conditions for foreign students. For instance, in January, Russia’s Parliament adopted a law that allows foreign students studying in Russian Universities to have a legal job as they study in Russia and to work as they study. And hence, we have equalized the rights of Russian students and foreign students that study in our universities. At the same time, it is crucial that the majority of Zambian students come back to their homeland and use the wealth of knowledge accumulated in Russian Universities in those areas of development where high-quality specialists are on demand. And it is well known in the world that Russian education is one of the best in the world and is in line with international standards,” Matviyenko added.

She observed that Zambia held a decent ranking in international business ratings.

“Today’s relations between the Russian Federation and the African states have reached a new level. Our country, building on a good history of cooperation, seeks to strengthen versatile partnership with the countries of the continent and contributes to their progressive harmonious development in political, economic and humanitarian ties. With outstanding hard-working people, you show good growth rate no matter the difficulties, but that is a fact. You hold decent ranks in international business ratings. Economic development will further be facilitated by Zambia’s ratification of African Free Trade agreement,” Matviyenko said.

“We attach special importance to the development of cultural and humanitarian ties to building partnerships in education and personnel training. I am happy to know that Zambia has already become the core of Africa’s self-regional educational cluster of the prestigious People’s Friendship University of Russia where I am presiding over the supervisory council. Besides that, in 2018, Zambia saw the opening of the Centre for the Russian Language and Pre-University training. This is a joint project with the Copperbelt University that provides an opportunity for future students from Zambia and a number of neighbouring countries to have distance training for their future admission to Russian Universities.”

And Matviyenko, who also served as Governor of Saint Petersburg from 2003 to 2011, invited female Zambian leaders to attend Russian Eurasian Women’s Forum scheduled for next year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to invite women leaders of Zambia to take part in the work of the Thirty Region Women Forum that will be held next year in St Petersburg. I am hopeful that the spouse of the President, madam Esther Lungu, will also accept our invitation to take part in the Eurasian Women Forum. I know how much effort and attention she makes to increase the role of women to protect the rights of maternity and of children to protect their healthcare, and she will always be welcome in Russia. This will bring together the most influential and active women from all over the globe. And once again, I am confident that Zambia’s experience will be interesting for the participants of the Forum given that one of the most high-ranking and responsible positions in the country is occupied by a woman, Vice-President Inonge Wina,” said Matviyenko.