U.N. sets $21mn to integrate Angolans in Zambia

Out of 10,000 Angolan refugees who had applied for immigration permits in Zambia, only 4210 were successful

Out of 10,000 Angolan refugees who had applied for immigration permits in Zambia, only 4210 were successful

LUSAKA - The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has earmarked $20.9 million to facilitate the integration of Angolan refugees who have been given immigration permits in Zambia.

UNHCR Country Director Laura Lo Castro told a press conference in Lusaka Monday that the money would be used to train the Angolans on skills such as bricklaying, carpentry, poultry and fish-farming to help them settle down in their new communities.

"These preparations are aimed at promoting harmony and co-existence between the former refugees and the Zambian host community," Castro said.

She thanked the Zambian government for accepting the integration of the Angolans.

Zambia had hosted around 23,000 Angolan refugees, but many of them voluntarily returned home after their refugee status were revoked in 2012.

Former Angolan refugees who wished to remain in Zambia were asked to apply for various immigration permits.

Out of 10,000 Angolan refugees who had applied, only 4210 were successful.

"To facilitate the issuance of the relevant immigration permits, the former Angolan refugees were required to produce Angolan passports which they did," explained Zambian Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula.

The refugees who had no passports were asked to register with the Angolan embassy in Lusaka.

"The Angolan government played a crucial part in helping these former refugees acquiring national passports, without them having to journey to Angola," Simbyakula told the press conference.

The minister reiterated Zambia's commitment to continued cooperation with the UNHCR to secure "durable solutions for the former Angolan refugees still remaining in Zambia."

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