President Edgar Lungu has delivered his maiden speech to the 24th African Union (AU) summit with a reaffirmation that Zambia will remain committed to the ideals of the union.
In a succinct speech to the heads of African states and government this morning, President Lungu said the Zambian government will continue to be fully engaged in the activities of the African Union.
“I wish to further state that Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at continental level and beyond, by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the Union,” he said.
The 24th AU summit, which opened this morning, is being held under the theme, ‘2015 year of women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063’.
President Lungu further said his government was intending to be more actively engaged in peace building and conflict resolution initiatives in Africa particularly in the Great Lakes and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions.
On the issue Ebola, President Lungu said the matter calls for concerted efforts to address because it was an emerging threat to Africa’s social and economic security.
“While the pandemic may now be showing signs of decline, the continent should continue to remain alert and my government will render support to the various commendable efforts already being made,” he said.
And Mr. Lungu has expressed concern over the increasing occurrences of terrorism activities and the militarisation of extreme faith-based organisations in the continent of Africa.
He said these ruthless attacks and violent tendencies of terrorist groups require urgent and collaborative efforts from African governments.
On the issue of reforming the United Nations, President Lungu reassured the AU assembly that Zambia will ensure that the process is accelerated.
He explained that Zambia will through her membership to the committee of ten, work towards ensuring that the pace of reforming the UN is enhanced.
“To this effect, I wish to inform this august house that Zambia will be hosting the next meeting of the C10,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lungu has greatly welcomed the theme of the 24th AU summit, which is ‘2015 year of women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063’.
The President said as a measure of Zambia’s long standing commitment to the role of women in development and leadership, he decided to appoint the first ever female Vice President in the history of Zambia.
“I wish to confirm to this august house that, in accordance with the Beijing platform, immediately following my assumption of office, I appointed a female Vice-President, Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, M.P, the first in the history of my country,” he said.
President Lungu has since reassured other African governments that Zambia could be counted on in terms of supporting the activities and programmes of the continental body in the fulfilment of the Agenda 2063.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called on African countries to redouble their efforts towards addressing climate change, the post 2015 development agenda and the women empowerment matters in the continent.
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma also urged African governments to be aware of terrorism attacks, human trafficking, climate change and other social, political and economic challenges taking place in Africa.
She said African governments must coordinate and apply collective responses to all threats in the continent.
And Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, noted that there was need to commit a lot of resources in order to address the many challenges the African continent was facing.