Tight schedule awaits President Lungu at the AU Summit


A very busy schedule is awaiting President Edgar Lungu when he arrives tomorrow for the 24th Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Among the main activities that await President Lungu are the presentation of his maiden statement to the AU, bidding for Zambia to host the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, participating in Heads of State and Government meetings on Friday and Saturday and holding bilateral meetings with at least six Presidents and a Prime Minister and other delegation leaders.


Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, who is also Permanent Representative to the African Union, Susan Sikaneta, told Zambian journalists in Addis Ababa today that President Lungu is expected to arrive here at 13:00 hours local time tomorrow, January 29, 2015.


Ambassador Sikaneta said President Lungu, who will be accompanied by First Lady Esther, will make his maiden speech to a packed audience of about 5,000 delegates on Friday, January 30, 2015 in the main hall of the African Union Headquarters building.


The theme of the 24th Summit of the AU is ‘Year of women’s empowerment and development in Africa.’


She said the President will have bilateral meetings with President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn.


She said President Lungu will also have bilateral meetings with heads of delegation of Japan, United States of America and others that were yet to confirm by press time.


Ambassador Sikaneta said the main items on the 24th AU Summit’s agenda are the focus on women’s empowerment, agenda 2063 in which Heads of State and Government will adopt and kick-start programmes that will drive the continent towards development in the next 50 years.


The kick-starting of the agenda 2063 will spell out activities of massive infrastructural development in Africa, including the proposed creation of the United Sates of Africa.


She said the Heads of State will also discuss issues of peace and security and new strategies to combat terrorism and conflicts among African countries.


She added that the AU has decided that crime gangs should be silenced by the year 2020.


On health issues, the Heads of State and Government will discuss how to prevent and combat diseases following the outbreak of Ebola which has claimed more than 8,000 lives mainly in Western Africa in less than two years.


Ambassador Sikaneta said one other main issue on health will be the plan to come up with a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Africa.


She said President Lungu will present a bid for Zambia to host the building of the centre.


She further said President Lungu will meet Zambians living in Ethiopia when the Summit ends at the weekend.


There are about 300 Zambians living and working in Ethiopia.


President Lungu is expected to leave Addis Ababa on Sunday, February 1st, 2015.


Ambassador Sikaneta said Zambia expects to benefit a lot from the 24th AU summit.