PRESIDENT SATA TALKS DEMOCRACY at Africa-EU Summit

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President Michael Sata arrives at the closing ceremony of the EU -AU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, 03-04-2014 -Picture by Eddie Mwanaleza — in Belgium.
President Michael Sata arrives at the closing ceremony of the EU -AU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, 03-04-2014 -Picture by Eddie Mwanaleza — in Belgium.
PRESIDENT Sata says his Government desires to enhance co-operation with the European Union (EU) in Zambia’s efforts to foster sustainable and inclusive development.
The President says Zambia attaches great importance to governance and democracy because they are key ingredients for fostering prosperity and development.
He was speaking here on Wednesday during the working session II of the Fourth Africa-EU Heads of State and Government Summit at the EU Commission headquarters.
“As we move forward in our efforts to enhance and strengthen co-operation between African and European Union countries, I wish to underline the importance that Zambia attaches to issues of governance and democracy. I wish to thank the European Union for the assistance that my country has been receiving in this area,” Mr Sata said.
President Sata said good governance remains the cornerstone for prudent management of public affairs and ensuring that development outcomes benefit Zambians.
Mr Sata said good governance promotes accountability, transparency, efficiency and the rule of law in public institutions at all levels.
“My Government acknowledges that without proper functioning institutions of governance based on the rule of law that promote social stability and legal certainty, there cannot be investment and sustainable development,” he said.
President Sata said the strength of the rule of law is the best predictor of a country’s economic success.
He said deficiency in governance encourages high rates of corruption, with further devastating consequences on the confidence of economic actors.
The President, however, said good governance is often a gradual process that cannot be attained overnight as it involves a change to long-standing practices as well as entrenched interests and norms.
President Sata said the PF government has put in place a comprehensive policy and a legal institutional framework to curb corruption and abuse of public resources.
“I have confidence in my Government’s zero tolerance for corruption and abuse of public resources. However, I am also mindful that we still face some challenges in both the private and public sectors,” he said.
The President also said Zambia is committed to the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process and its vision of enhancing Africa’s ownership of its development agenda and process.
Mr Sata said having been peer-reviewed in 2013, followed by the launch of the country review report in March 2014, Zambia is in the process of implementing the national programme of action.
This process is being spearheaded and monitored by the National Governing Council, which comprises both state and non-state actors.
And President Sata said his Government has identified women’s participation in decision-making as critical in achieving sustainable development.
The President said Zambia has, to this effect, ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, which provides for appointment of at least 50 percent women in decision-making positions.
“In spite of our concerted efforts, overcoming gender inequalities remains a challenge. This, therefore, underscores the continued need for upscaling our collaboration in women empowerment programmes,” Mr Sata said.
The Fourth Africa-EU heads of state and government summit officially opened here on Wednesday with African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma calling on EU countries to use their experience to help Africa upscale research in science and technology for it to industrialise.
This year’s summit is being held under the theme ‘Investing in people, prosperity and peace’.
President Sata was among several heads of state and government during the official opening ceremony of the summit at the EU Commission headquarters.
Meanwhile, scores of activists from Africa and Europe gathered in front of the European Parliament here on the first day of the summit demanding an end to what they called the hypocrisy in EU-Africa trade and development policies.
The activists feel that contrary to rules that require the EU to prioritise development in Africa, its policies are facilitating land grabs and tax evasion by multinational companies, hurting the most vulnerable and depriving African countries of their much needed tax revenue.
The group is calling on the EU to put African rights and interests first.
Action Aid Zambia country director Pamela Chisanga noted that the African Union (AU) revealed that up to US$60 billion is lost each year from African economies through tax dodging by big companies.
“I have witnessed how multinational companies deprive Zambia of vital money that could be used for education and health. We must put people before profit and take action to stop these tax parasites,” Ms Chisanga said.
“We have an opportunity to change things. The global tax system is under review and African leaders want to take action. However, we fear that tax will not be part of this summit’s discussion. Action Aid believes that this is unacceptable.”
Action Aid Mozambique country director Amade Sucá said European companies take advantage of EU policies to strike deals that harm Africans.
Ms Suca said local communities in Mozambique have seen their right to land violated by multinational companies.
“European and African leaders need to put smallscale farmers, especially women farmers, at the core of their agriculture policies in Africa. Foreign investments should not violate the right to land and to decent work and a sustainable future,” she said.

 

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