Zambia to bid for disease control centre

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PRESIDENT Lungu is expected to make a bid for Zambia to host one of the regional centres of disease control and prevention in his maiden statement at the official opening of the 24th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit tomorrow. Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Susan Sikaneta told journalists here yesterday that Mr Lungu will address 5,000 delegates at 10:00 hours local time. The theme for the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of AU heads of state and government summit is: “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development in Africa”. “His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has a busy working schedule here. In terms of bilateral meetings, he will meet the presidents of Malawi (Peter Mutharika), Egypt (Abdel Fattah el-Sisi), Kenya (Uhuru Kenyatta), South Africa (Jacob Zuma), Democratic Republic of Congo (Joseph Kabila) and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (Hailemariam Desalegn). “He will also meet heads of delegation of the United States of America, Japan and a few others,” Ms Sikaneta said. She said among important agenda items that the AU heads of state and government summit will discuss is women empowerment. Ms Sikaneta, who is also permanent representative to the AU, explained that at last year’s AU summit, governments committed themselves to declaring 2015 a year of women empowerment. Ms Sikaneta also said the heads of state and government are expected to adopt agenda 2063 to kick-start the development programme for the continent for the next 50 years after attainment of 50 years of the AU’s existence last year. “This will include the establishment of the Confederation of African Union, meaning the united states of Africa,” she said. Ms Sikaneta also said that the summit will deliberate on peace and security to strategise how member States should work together to fight terrorism and conflict on the continent. The heads of state and government are expected to deliberate on lessons learnt from the outbreak of Ebola that has claimed about 4,500 lives in some West African countries. The AU will this year establish a centre for disease control and prevention. “Our President [Mr Lungu] will be making a bid to host one of the regional centres,” she said. And President Lungu is expected here today to attend the 24th AU Heads of State and Government summit. The president is expected to land at Bole International Airport at 13:00 hours local time after departing Lusaka at 08:00 hours. According to a programme released by Ms Sikaneta, Mr Lungu will be accompanied by First Lady Esther Lungu. She also said Mr Lungu will meet 300 Zambians resident in Ethiopia working for international organisations. ZDM

State House Press Office – Zambia

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