ANNUAL DIPLOMATIC GREETING

I AM DELIGHTED TO WARMLY WELCOME YOU TO STATE HOUSE TO EXTEND MY NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS TO YOU ALL ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA AND INDEED ON MY OWN BEHALF.

AS PER TRADITION, I WISH TO EXTEND AN EXTRA WARM WELCOME TO THE NEWLY ACCREDITED MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS, WHO ARE JOINING US FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THIS ANNUAL EVENT.

ZAMBIA VALUES ITS RELATIONS WITH ALL THE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTED IN ZAMBIA. IN THIS REGARD, ZAMBIA CONTINUES TO ENJOY FRUITFUL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION AT BILATERAL, REGIONAL AND MULTILATERAL LEVELS HENCE CONTRIBUTING TO THE COUNTRY’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

AS WE REFLECT ON THE YEAR 2018, I AM HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT ZAMBIA RECORDED A FAVOURABLE ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE IN 2018 WITH ESTIMATES INDICATING THAT THE ECONOMY GREW BY ABOUT 4 PERCENT.

THIS WAS SUPPORTED BY POSITIVE PERFORMANCE IN THE MINING, MANUFACTURING AND CONSTRUCTION SECTORS, AS WELL AS STABLE ELECTRICITY GENERATION AND SUPPLY.

DURING THE PAST YEAR, WE ALSO ACHIEVED A RELATIVELY STABLE EXCHANGE RATE AND KEPT INFLATION TO SINGLE DIGITS.

IN ADDITION, COPPER PRODUCTION EXCEEDED 800,000 METRIC TONNES AT THE CLOSE OF 2018 FROM APPROXIMATELY 786,000 METRIC TONNES IN 2017.  THE INCREASE WAS DUE TO HIGHER COPPER PRICES AND AN ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT WE HAVE CREATED.

WITH THESE POSITIVE PROSPECTS, MY GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT THROUGH POLICIES THAT RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF INDUSTRY IN ORDER TO FACILITATE ROBUST PRIVATE SECTOR-LED GROWTH AND INDUSTRIALISATION.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

THEREFORE, I WISH TO URGE YOUR EXCELLENCIES TO ENHANCE YOUR EFFORTS IN ENCOURAGING MORE TRADE AND INVESTMENTS WITH ZAMBIA FOCUSING ON DIVERSIFICATION, VALUE ADDITION, AND JOB CREATION.

ZAMBIA CONTINUES TO WORK TOWARDS THE NATIONAL VISION OF BECOMING “A PROSPEROUS MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRY BY 2030”.

WE ARE IN OUR THIRD IMPLEMENTATION YEAR OF THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN WHOSE GOAL IS “TO CREATE A DIVERSIFIED AND RESILIENT ECONOMY FOR SUSTAINED GROWTH AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION DRIVEN, AMONG OTHERS, BY AGRICULTURE”.

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE INVALUABLE SUPPORT FROM ALL THE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTED HERE.

THROUGH OUR JOINT EFFORTS, TRADE AND INVESTMENT LINKAGES HAVE BEEN FOSTERED AND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS SIGNED, THEREBY CONTRIBUTING TO THE CREATION OF AN ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN OUR COUNTRY.

IN ADDITION, TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AND DEVELOPMENTAL PROJECTS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITH OTHERS ONGOING.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

I, THEREFORE, ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND WELCOME YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT IN 2019 AS WE BUILD ON THE SUCCESSES OF 2018.

MY GOVERNMENT HAS INTRODUCED ECONOMIC EXPOSITIONS TO SHOWCASE THE EXISTING POTENTIAL IN THE VARIOUS PROVINCES OF ZAMBIA WHICH ARE EXPECTED TO RESULT IN INCREASED INVESTMENT AND TOURISM, AS WELL AS JOB AND WEALTH CREATION.

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SUPPORT TOWARDS THE THREE EXPOSITIONS WHICH HAVE SO FAR BEEN HELD IN LUAPULA, CENTRAL AND NORTHERN PROVINCES.

WE RELY ON YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT BY ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION FROM YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS IN THE PROVINCIAL EXPOS TO BE HELD THIS YEAR.

EQUALLY, WE HAVE OTHER SHOWS SUCH AS THE ZAMBIA INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR AND THE AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCIAL SHOW WHERE YOUR PARTICIPATION WILL BE APPRECIATED.

ZAMBIA HAS BEEN ABLE TO FINANCE ITS DEVELOPMENTAL PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES USING VARIOUS SOURCES OF FINANCING BOTH LOCAL AND FOREIGN.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

LET ME ALSO UNDERSCORE MY GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO PRUDENT BORROWING AND ADHERENCE TO TENETS OF DEBT SUSTAINABILITY.

MY GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE WITH ITS POLICY OF TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE USE OF PUBLIC RESOURCES AND LOOKS FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS TO BUILD THE CAPACITY OF KEY INSTITUTIONS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION.

ON THE REPORTS OF ABUSE OF DONOR FUNDS IN CERTAIN PROGRAMMES SUCH AS THE SOCIAL CASH TRANSFER, LET ME CATEGORICALLY STATE THAT THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CONDONE SUCH PRACTICES AND THOSE FOUND WANTING ARE DEALT WITH IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW.

AS WE WORK TOGETHER IN 2019 AND BEYOND, I THEREFORE WISH TO REASSURE YOU OF THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO ZERO TOLERANCE ON CORRUPTION AND ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE UTILISATION OF RESOURCES.

ON THE REGIONAL FRONT, ZAMBIA UNDERTOOK TO ENHANCE ITS PARTICIPATION IN REGIONAL BODIES AND ASSUMED CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC) ORGAN ON POLITICS DEFENCE AND SECURITY COOPERATION IN AUGUST, 2018.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

IN THIS REGARD, MY GOVERNMENT HAS CONTINUED TO SPEARHEAD INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMMES AIMED AT CONFRONTING AND ADDRESSING CHALLENGES WITH A POTENTIAL TO THREATEN PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE SADC REGION.

SINCE ZAMBIA ASSUMED THE ROLE OF CHAIR OF THE ORGAN, THE REGION HAS UNDERTAKEN PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI, THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, THE REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR, AND THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

I AM, THEREFORE, CONFIDENT THAT ALL SADC MEMBER STATES SCHEDULED TO UNDERTAKE ELECTIONS THIS YEAR, 2019, WILL DO SO IN AN EQUALLY PEACEFUL MANNER TO ENSURE POLITICAL STABILITY IN THE REGION.

ON GLOBAL AFFAIRS, WE ALL REMAIN SEIZED WITH THE ISSUE OF THE REFORM OF THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) SECURITY COUNCIL.

AS A MEMBER OF THE AFRICAN UNION’S COMMITTEE OF TEN ON THE REFORM OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL, ZAMBIA IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN EFFORTS TO MAKE THE COUNCIL MORE REPRESENTATIVE, ACCOUNTABLE, EFFECTIVE AND RESPONSIVE TO THE GEOPOLITICAL REALITIES OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

IN THIS REGARD, ZAMBIA CONTINUES TO STAND BY THE COMMON AFRICAN POSITION TO ADVOCATE FOR A COMPREHENSIVE DEMOCRATIC REFORM OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL.

THIS INCLUDES AMONG OTHERS, CALLS FOR TWO PERMANENT SEATS WITH VETO POWERS FOR AFRICA.

IN THIS VEIN, ZAMBIA IS CURRENTLY NOT IN FAVOUR OF THE TEXT-BASED NEGOTIATIONS FOR UN REFORMS UNTIL BROAD CONSENSUS IS REACHED ON THE KEY ISSUES.

THE SUPPORT OF ALL OUR PARTNERS IN THIS QUEST IS THEREFORE MUCH APPRECIATED.

IN ADDITION, ZAMBIA FOLLOWS WITH INTEREST THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.  I WISH TO ENCOURAGE ALL PARTIES INVOLVED IN THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS TO CONTINUE ENGAGING IN PEACE TALKS IN ORDER TO BRING LASTING PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE REGION.

CLIMATE CHANGE REMAINS A GLOBAL CHALLENGE WHICH REQUIRES CONCERTED EFFORTS TO MITIGATE ITS IMPACT.  MOST OF THE COUNTRIES REPRESENTED HERE, INCLUDING ZAMBIA, HAVE EXPERIENCED THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, WITH ERRATIC WEATHER PATTERNS AFFECTING MAINLY THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR AND THE ENERGY SECTOR.  WE THEREFORE REAFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT TO THE PARIS AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

IN SUPPORT OF THESE GLOBAL EFFORTS, ZAMBIA IS AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC). AS A SIGNATORY TO THE PARIS AGREEMENT, MY GOVERNMENT HAS INTEGRATED THIS AGREEMENT INTO THE COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT AGENDA THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OUR NATIONAL POLICY ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

2018 WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL IN TERMS OF ZAMBIA’S INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENTS.  I AM CONFIDENT THAT THIS YEAR WILL EVEN BE MORE FRUITFUL AND SUCCESSFUL FOR ALL OF US. LET US CONTINUE TO EXPLORE WAYS OF CONSOLIDATING OUR RELATIONS THROUGH INCREASED INTERACTION TO ENSURE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL COOPERATION.

AS I CONCLUDE, ALLOW ME TO COMMEND THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR ITS INNOVATIVE IDEAS OF INVOLVING THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

THE ANNUAL CORPORATES AND DIPLOMATS GALA NIGHT IS A COMMENDABLE ACHIEVEMENT WHICH RECOGNISES THE VITAL INTERFACE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS AND THE CORPORATE WORLD IN THE COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT AGENDA.

THE EVENT ALSO PROVIDES A VIABLE PLATFORM FOR NETWORKING AND EXCHANGING IDEAS.

I AM PLEASED TO NOTE THAT THIS YEAR, 2019 THE MINISTRY WILL LAUNCH AN ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY FORUM WHICH WILL EQUALLY PROMOTE NETWORKING AND ENGAGEMENT AMONG RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS. THIS IS AIMED AT ACHIEVING MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL OUTCOMES FROM OUR ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY.  I AM CONFIDENT THAT WITH YOUR USUAL SUPPORT, WE WILL SOAR TO EVEN GREATER HEIGHTS IN OUR RELATIONS AND COOPERATION.

I WISH TO REITERATE OUR APPRECIATION FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN THE PAST YEAR. IN THE SAME VEIN, I WISH TO REAFFIRM THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO ENHANCED RELATIONS AND COOPERATION WITH YOUR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES AND ORGANISATIONS. LET US BUILD ON THE SUCCESSES OF 2018, AS WE CONTINUE TO ENGAGE FOR GREATER ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2019.

I THANK YOU!

 

    join our Newsletter