THE Irish government is ready to embark on a new phase of development cooperation with Zambia.
Ambassador Designate Finbar O'brien in his message for a special booklet titled "Northern Voices- Celebrating 30 Years of development partnership in Northern Province, Zambia" said the publication marked a milestone which had characterised the relationship between the two governments.
Mr O'brien said the publication which was launched in Kasama told a special story through the eyes of the people that had benefitted from Irish aid programmes for the past 30 years.
He said it explored many ways Irish aid had contributed to health, education, poverty reduction and development in the province.
"Although Irish Aid has from time to time changed its focus and way of working in the province, what has not changed is our commitment to work with the Government of Zambia on behalf of Northern Province's poorest and most vulnerable communities," Mr O'brien said.
Northern Province Permanent secretary Hlobota Nkunika thanked the Irish Government for the support rendered in the past three decades.
"The booklet tells the rich story of the partnership that exists between our two governments through the eyes of beneficiaries.
"It is difficult to travel any great distance across the 14 districts that comprise Northern and Muchinga provinces without coming across evidence of what we have achieved together," he said.
Mr Nkunika said it was easy to see the results of the support rendered by Irish Aid in crucial sectors like water and sanitation and the education sector.
Programme manager Fackson Nyanga said Irish Aid would next five years focus its efforts in Mbala and Luwingu.
It will aim to improve food and nutrition security in the two districts targeting vulnerable households, especially those headed by women and those affected by HIV and AIDS.