By Staff Writer
President Edgar Lungu has delegated Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji to represent the country at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of States and Governments in Niamey, Niger.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Executive Council in Niger, Malanji said the President will not be attending the summit due to commitments to other equally important national duties.
And Mr Malanji said Zambia stands to benefit from some AU Flagship programmes such as the Africa High speed train project that will see Zambia being a manufacture of one of the key components of the train that is expected to run from Cape to Cairo.
The Minister also said Zambia supports the African Union Commission budget for 2020 as the country subscribes to the principle that Africa should fund its own programmes.
He however urged the AU commission to ensure that there was diligence in the use of resources availed to the African union in line with the aspirations spelt out in Agenda 2063.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area that will be become operational during the Summit, the Minister said President Edgar Lungu’s signing of the CFTA protocol is testimony that Zambians is committed to being part of the envisaged big market.
He said the only process that remains was the ratification of the AfCTA agreement by Parliament that is expected to be done after stakeholder consultations are concluded.
On ECOSSOC, the Minister urged the African Union to avail emoluments for the staff that has been employed by ECOSOCC in order to fully operationalize the interim secretariat based in Lusaka.
And ECOSSOC President Abozer Elimana Elligai commended the Zambian Government for the commitment in the relocation of ECOSSOC. He said the decision by Zambia to avail intermin offices for the secretariat is testimony of the country’s commitment to ensuring that the relocation was a success.
Several Heads of States and Government are expected to attend the Extraordinary Summit which is dedicated to the launch of the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Zambia’s Delegation to the African Union Summit in Niger includes, Foreign Affairs Minister, Joseph Malanji, Commerce Minister Christopher Yaluma and Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba.
This is according to a media statement by First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza.