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US, Zambia, and Malawi Joint State Partnership Program to strengthen disaster response, security cooperation

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Malawi and Zambia are expected to have their response to disaster and security cooperation enhanced through the Joint State Partnership Program the two countries have established with the United States of America.

This is according to a statement released on Thursday evening. The statement says the State Partnership Program links U.S. National Guard units from a specific U.S. state with partner nations’ security forces and disaster response organizations in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship.

The statement further states that the State Partnership Program, which has been in existence for 30 years, includes partnerships between countries around the world with National Guard units from all 54 U.S. states and territories.

“Among the 100 State Partnership Programs globally, 16 are with African countries, including regional neighbors South Africa and Botswana.  On average, only two new State Partnerships are added each year; the addition of these countries reflects the strength of the U.S. relationships with both Zambia and Malawi,” reads the statement in part.

Through the arrangement, U.S. National Guard units plan to conduct several joint activities each year with both Zambia and Malawi in support of shared security goals. 

The activities go beyond traditional military-to-military engagements and may include emergency management and disaster response exercises; border and port security programs; leadership and officer development; medical capacity building; economic security strengthening; natural resource protection; peacekeeping operations; and counter-trafficking counter-proliferation, and counter-terrorism support.

“A key component of the State Partnership Program is improving disaster response capabilities.  For example, when Cyclone Freddy tore through the region last month, Zambia and Malawi worked together on search and rescue and disaster response in the aftermath of the storm.  Moving forward, the State Partnership Program will enable both countries to work in partnership with National Guard units to further enhance those disaster response capabilities,” continues the statement.

The statement further says the goal of a State Partnership Program is to develop and maintain important security relationships between the United States and other nations sharing common interests.  A State Partnership Program is a long-term partnership that lasts for decades and increases the readiness of U.S. and partner forces to meet emerging challenges. 

“Members of U.S. state national guards are overwhelmingly reservists with full-time civilian professions, and the State Partnership Program has often been an avenue to spur strong people-to-people relations well beyond the realm of security,” it concludes.

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