Speech delivered by President Lungu at the COMESA Summit in Madagascar.

IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE AND HONOUR THAT I ADDRESS THE 19TH SESSION OF THE COMESA AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT WHICH IS BEING HELD UNDER THE THEME “INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIALISATION.”

I WISH TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE TO OUR GRACIOUS HOST HIS EXCELLENCY MR. HERY RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR, THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR, FOR THE WARM WELCOME ACCORDED TO ME AND MY DELEGATION SINCE OUR ARRIVAL IN THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY OF ANTANANARIVO.

FURTHER, I WOULD LIKE TO CONVEY TO YOUR EXCELLENCIES, MY SINCERE GRATITUDE AND THAT OF THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA FOR YOUR UNWAVERING SUPPORT DURING AND AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTIONS OF 11TH AUGUST, 2016 IN WHICH THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE GAVE ME ANOTHER MANDATE, TO PRESIDE OVER THE AFFAIRS OF THE COUNTRY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

THE WARM CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES ON MY RE-ELECTION AS PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, ARE INDEED, A TRUE REFLECTION OF THE GOODWILL AND THE SOLIDARITY THAT WE SHARE.

LET ME ALSO PAY TRIBUTE TO OUR ORGANISATION, COMESA, FOR DEPLOYING THE ELECTION OBSERVER MISSION TO MONITOR THE GENERAL ELECTIONS IN ZAMBIA.

I AM PLEASED TO INFORM YOUR EXCELLENCIES THAT THE ELECTIONS WERE HELD IN A TRANSPARENT, PEACEFUL, FREE AND FAIR ENVIRONMENT, THEREBY, DEMONSTRATING ZAMBIA’S COMMITMENT TO THE ENTRENCHMENT OF DEMOCRACY AND THE TENETS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE WITHIN OUR REGION.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

ZAMBIA ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO REGIONAL COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION.
IN THIS REGARD, I WISH TO RE-AFFIRM MY COUNTRY’S COMMITMENT TO THE IDEALS AND PRINCIPLES ESPOUSED IN THE COMESA TREATY AND OUR RESOLVE TO WORK TOWARDS ATTAINING A REGIONAL COMMUNITY ANCHORED ON SHARED VALUES AND RESPECT OF AGREED RULES AND MILESTONES FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF ALL MEMBER STATES.

IN KEEPING WITH THESE VALUES, MY GOVERNMENT REMAINS FULLY COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT COMESA EMERGES AS A STRONG BUILDING BLOCK FOR AFRICA’S INTEGRATION PROCESS, WHERE ALL PEOPLE HAVE AN EQUAL SHARE IN THE PROSPERITY OF OUR REGION. MAY I, THEREFORE, PLEDGE MY GOVERNMENT’S CONTINUED READINESS TO REMAIN FULLY ENGAGED IN THE ACTIVITIES OF COMESA.

AS HOST OF THE COMESA SECRETARIAT, WE IN ZAMBIA REALISE THAT OUR ORGANISATION HAS A HUGE MANDATE AND A MAJOR ROLE TO PLAY IN AFRICA’S REGIONAL INTEGRATION AGENDA.

MY GOVERNMENT HAS, THEREFORE, ALLOCATED 10 HECTARES OF LAND TO ENSURE THAT THE OPERATIONS OF THE SECRETARIAT ARE NOT CONSTRAINED BY A LACK OF OFFICE SPACE. I EAGERLY LOOK FORWARD TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW COMESA HEADQUARTERS ON THIS PIECE OF LAND.

I AM, THEREFORE, CONFIDENT THAT THIS SUMMIT WILL RESOLVE TO DIRECT THE SECRETARIAT TO COMMENCE THE CONSTRUCTION WORKS IN EARNEST.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

ZAMBIA FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT THERE CAN BE NO MEANINGFUL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF PEACE AND STABILITY IN OUR REGION.

IN THIS REGARD, MY COUNTRY WELCOMES ALL INITIATIVES AIMED AT BRINGING ABOUT LASTING PEACE WITHIN THE COMESA REGION AND BEYOND.

LET ME ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROGRESS OUR REGIONAL ORGANISATION HAS MADE IN MANY AREAS INCLUDING TRADE, INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, ESTABLISHMENT OF ONE STOP BORDER POSTS, PEACE AND SECURITY, HEALTH, EDUCATION, FOOD SECURITY AND HARMONISATION OF POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES, TO MENTION BUT A FEW.

I AM DELIGHTED TO NOTE THAT COMESA IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK IN AS FAR AS THE PROMOTION OF REGIONAL INTEGRATION IS CONCERNED.

GOING FORWARD, WE NEED TO BUILD ON THESE GAINS IN ORDER TO ACCELERATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF OUR COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES.

IT IS ALSO INCUMBENT UPON US TO LOOK BEYOND THE REGION AND ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THE INTEGRATION PROCESSES AT THE TRIPARTITE AND CONTINENTAL LEVELS SO THAT WE BROADEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITIES.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE WORKING TOWARDS IMPROVING THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT SO THAT OUR PRIVATE SECTOR AND OTHER ECONOMIC PLAYERS CAN THRIVE AND BECOME VISIBLE ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE.

WITH ENHANCED VIGOUR, WE NEED TO PROMOTE INDUSTRIALISATION AND THE GROWTH OF OUR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES. INVESTMENTS IN ENERGY GENERATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT ARE CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS AS WE WORK TOWARDS ATTAINING INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIALISATION.

WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT OUR COUNTRIES FACE NUMEROUS CHALLENGES, THE CONSOLIDATION OF OUR PRODUCTIVE CAPACITIES AND TRANSFORMING THE BASKET OF OUR EXPORT TRADE REMAIN KEY ELEMENTS IN THIS REGARD.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
AS WE MOVE FORWARD, IT IS IMPERATIVE FOR US TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE REALITIES OF THE DYNAMICS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY WE ARE OPERATING IN AS THESE HAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR REGIONAL INTEGRATION PROCESS.

WE SHOULD, THEREFORE, DOUBLE UP OUR EFFORTS AND HARNESS OUR INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS TO COLLECTIVELY ADDRESS THE RATHER COMPLEX CHALLENGES THAT CONFRONT US IN OUR INCREASINGLY GLOBALISED AND INTERDEPENDENT WORLD.

LET ME, REAFFIRM ONCE AGAIN, MY GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO WORKING CLOSELY WITH ALL YOUR EXCELLENCIES IN THE ATTAINMENT OF THE COMESA VISION AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE LIVES OF ALL OUR PEOPLE.

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT.
I THANK YOU.

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