By ANTHONY MULOWA in Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at the continental level and beyond by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the African Union (AU).
Mr Lungu reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to the ideals of the AU and also his Government’s readiness to continue to be fully engaged in the activities of the continental body.
The President said this when he presented his maiden speech to the 24th AU Summit of Heads of State which received a standing ovation.
Mr Lungu said Zambia also intended to be more actively engaged in peace-building and conflict-resolution initiatives on the continent, particularly within SADC and the Great Lakes Region.
“I wish to further state that Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at the continental level and beyond, by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the Union,” the President said.
On the Agenda 2063, Mr Lungu said his Government firmly believed that this was an important blueprint for the future of the continent and should be fully supported as a vehicle for Africa’s development.
There was need to ensure that the spirit and resolve contained in the Agenda 2063 document was fully incorporated into the Post 2015 Development Agenda process and other global developmental efforts.
“It is in the same vein that as a continent, Africa should prioritise her strategic economic partnerships in order to ensure that they speak to the African Agenda and that our interests are safeguarded,” Mr Lungu said.
The President also expressed gratitude on behalf of the Zambian people for the overwhelming support that the country received during the trying period following the death of President Michael Sata in October last year.
Mr Lungu said the African brothers and sisters further supported the country during the transitional period as the democratic credentials and governance institutions were put to test.
On the Ebola virus, the President said the virus had clearly demonstrated the need for close collaboration in addressing such emerging threats to Africa’s social and economic security.
Mr Lungu said while the pandemic may now be showing signs of decline, the continent should continue to remain alert and that his Government would render support to the various efforts already being made.
The President also expressed Zambia’s concern with the increasing occurrences of ruthless attacks and violent tendencies of terrorist groups as well as the militarisation of extreme faith-based organisations, which was manifesting itself on the continent of Africa.
Meanwhile, the assembly observed a minute of silence in honour of Mr Sata.
AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Africa must move forward in
the development agenda by implementing policies which it had set for itself.
Dr Zuma said as Africa moved towards the implementation of the Agenda 2063, all countries must adopt collective and cooperative approaches to the threats of peace and security.
“Let us be relentless about African economic development by strengthening partnerships with the African private sector,” she said.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said women must be at the centre of all efforts.
Mr Ban applauded the summit for its focus on women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.
[times of zambia]