The relationship between Finland and Zambia is stable and transparent. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1968 soon after Zambia’s independence in 1964, marking the beginning of long-term development cooperation. Finland supported Zambia’s independence struggle and those of other Southern African countries.
Relations between Finland and Zambia have been based on development cooperation and Zambia has been one the main receivers of Finnish development support in Africa. Current Finnish development aid is based on Finland's key political and commercial objectives in Zambia as well as the Zambian national development plan.
Development cooperation today focuses on enhancing the role of the private sector as an engine of longer term sustainable growth and also addressing the current problems of poverty and inequality in Zambia. The vision is for the Finnish-Zambian relations in 2030 to be based on economic and trade relations, research, innovation and cultural cooperation.
In accordance with the Finnish development aid policy, Finland supports the full integration of Zambia into the world economy by expanding commercial and trade relations. The aim of the trade enhancing development cooperation is to actively develop and map new business opportunities including technology transfers and investments.
Export from Finland to Zambia in 2016 rose to 35.7 million, mainly due to the energy and mining sector equipment exports. Import to Finland remained under one million. These numbers have maintained the same level even in recent years – export has usually been between 20 to 25 million.
The Finnish Embassy supports cultural projects in Zambia through the Fund for Local Cooperation. The objectives of the support are to strengthen local cultural identity and to foster Zambia's valuable cultural heritage and areas funded include theatre, visual arts, preservation of national archives and film production.
High level visits between Finland and Zambia are one of the building blocks of Finnish-Zambian cooperation. The latest ministerial visit was in September 2017, when the minister of Labour Jari Lindström paid a visit to Zambia with a business delegation. Before that, the then Minister of Development Heidi Hautala visited Zambia in the year 2012 as well as in 2013. On the latter visit she was accompanied by the then Minister of Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba travelled to Finland in May 2017 to discuss political and economic relations between the countries. The Zambian parliament women's network, including the Minister of Gender and Child Development Nkandu Luo, visited Finland in June 2015 invited by DEMO Finland. In 2013 both the Foreign Minister Effron Lungu and the Minister of Community Development Emerine Kabanshi visited Finland. Kabanshi visited Finland also in 2015, then as the Minister of Social Security, to get to know the Finnish welfare system. The Minister of Environment Wilbur Simuusa visited Finland in 2012 to familiarize himself with Finnish expertise in the environment and forest sectors. The Minister of Trade and Industry Robert Sichinga also visited Finland in 2012 to promote Zambia as an investment environment.
Deputy Director General for the Department for Africa and the Middle East Kristiina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos from the Finnish foreign ministry and the Permanent Secretary of the Zambian Ministry for Finance Mukuli Chikuba led the country negotiations between Finland and Zambia on the 4th of October 2017 in Lusaka. The aim of the consultation was to discuss broadly about relations between the two countries. The topics included political and economic issues, commercial relations, development policies and development cooperation.