[President Lungu and First Lady Esther Lungu listens to Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Canalini on arrival at FCO,Flumicino Airport in Rome , Italy on Thursday, February 4,2016 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA]
From Chikumbi Katebe,Rome Italy
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is in Rome, Italy, on a working visit and is to meet the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis at the Vatican, aimed at strengthening bilateral relations with the Holy See.
President Lungu is scheduled to meet Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin in bilateral talks to strengthen the relations stemming from 50 years of interaction.
President Lungu is also scheduled to meet the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) director-general Jose Graziano de Silva at the organization’s headquarters here as well as the Industrial Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) president Kanayo Nwanze on the effects of global warming on food security in the country.
The two meetings were aimed at strategizing on the potential of improving support for high-tech and affordable agro-diversification programmes aimed at improving yields with nutritional value for small holder farmers.
President Lungu is accompanied by First Lady Esther Lungu and special assistant for press and public relation Amos Chanda.
The President arrived in Rome at 1245 hours Italian time at Fiumicino airport and was received by a high-powered delegation from the Vatican led by Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Canalini, a representative of the Holy See.
Others were Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, special assistant for politics, Kaizer Zulu and Mwiinga Hibeene, the special assistant for economic affairs, and deputy Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Mumbi Phiri.
Zambia’s High Commissioner to Britain who is also ambassador to the Vatican, Muyeba Chikonde, and his Italian counterpart Gertrude Mwape and officials from both missions welcomed the President at the start of his tri-nation European tour.
President Lungu is also expected to visit France for a business forum with international investors in the energy sector to provide alternative energy sources for both domestic and industrial consumption.