06 Jun

SPEECH BY HER HONOUR MRS. W. K. MUTALE-NALUMANGO, MP THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA DELIVERED DURING THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE EIGHTEENTH MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • THE CHAIRPERSON;
  • HONOURABLE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FROM COMESA;
  • OTHER MINISTERS PRESENT HERE TODAY;
  • YOUR EXCELLENCY, SECRETARY GENERAL OF COMESA MADAMCHILESHE MPUNDU KAPWEPWE;
  • YOUR EXCELLENCIES, AMBASSADORS ACCREDITED TO THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA AND TO COMESA;
  • DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS;
  • LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

I AM HAPPY TO JOIN YOU, DISTINGUISHED EXCELLENCIES, AT THIS 18TH MEETING OF THE COMESA MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, WHICH IS CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ADDRESSING PEACE, SECURITY AND STABILITY IN THE COMESA REGION.

LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY, ON BEHALF OF HIS EXCELLENCY, MR HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, TO WELCOME YOU “HOME,” GIVEN THE IMPORTANCE THAT ZAMBIA ATTACHES TO MATTERS OF DEMOCRACY, PEACE, AND SECURITY.  ZAMBIA’S HOSTING OF THE 2ND GLOBAL SUMMIT FOR DEMOCRACY IN MARCH, 2023, WHICH WAS ATTENDED BY 21 AFRICAN COUNTRIES, IS TESTIMONY OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS MEETING.  IN THIS REGARD, WE ARE THANKFUL TO COMESA MEMBER STATES THAT PARTICIPATED IN THE 2ND SUMMIT FOR DEMOCRACY.

AS WE FOCUS ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING, I AM DELIGHTED THAT COMESA MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ARE DISCUSSING MATTERS OF REGIONAL DEMOCRACY, PEACE, AND SECURITY AHEAD OF THE 22ND SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, TO BE HELD ON THURSDAY, 8TH JUNE 2023.  THE EVENT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE OUR FOUNDING FATHERS OF COMESA RECOGNISED EARLY, THAT NO MEANINGFUL INTEGRATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CAN BE REALISED IN THE ABSENCE OF PEACE.

I, THEREFORE, TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS MY APPRECIATION TO THE MINISTERS PRESENT HERE, NOTING THAT PART OF THE MISSION IS TO EXPLORE SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE ONGOING CONFLICTS IN OUR REGION.  I AM VERY CONFIDENT THAT YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THIS MEETING WILL BE TAKEN ON BOARD BY THE COMESA AUTHORITY.

EXCELLENCIES,

DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES,

WHILE AFRICA, AND COMESA IN PARTICULAR, IS MAKING STRIDES IN SHAPING A CONTINENT BEAMING WITH TREMENDOUS PROGRESS TOWARDS PEACE AND RESTORATION OF POWER TO CIVILIAN GOVERNMENTS, THE CONFLICT IN SUDAN, IS INDEED REGRETTABLE.  THIS IS SO, BECAUSE THERE CAN BE NO MEANINGFUL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON OUR CONTINENT, OR INDEED ANYWHERE ELSE, IN THE ABSENCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY.  THEREFORE, IT IS IN COMESA’S INTEREST TO ENSURE THAT PEACE PREVAILS AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE INSTABILITY ANYWHERE ON THE CONTINENT IS INSTABILITY EVERYWHERE.

DESPITE THE WORRYING SITUATION, WE ARE STILL HOPEFUL THAT THE RECENT EFFORTS FACILITATED BY IGAD, AU, UN AND OTHER PARTNERS, WILL YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS IN THE SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE.

BEYOND SUDAN, THE RE-EMERGENCE OF THE M23 CRISIS IN EASTERN DRC IS ANOTHER REMINDER THAT WE ARE FACED WITH ON-GOING CONFLICTS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE REGION, THAT NEED TO BE MANAGED AND RESOLVED URGENTLY.  WHAT IS OF PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE WAS THE SIGNING OF AN AGREEMENT TO END THE CONFLICT IN THE TIGRAY REGION OF ETHIOPIA.  WE COMMEND THE PARTIES IN ETHIOPIA FOR ACCELERATED EFFORTS TO RETURN TO LASTING PEACE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPERITY IN THE REGION.

SIMILARLY, WE ARE ENCOURAGED BY THE TRANSITION PROCESSES IN LIBYA, WHICH ARE NOW ON TRACK, AND I CALL ON YOUR MEETING TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE THAT WILL RESOLVE ALL OTHER OUTSTANDING ISSUES TOWARDS ENTRENCHING DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, ADDRESSING ISSUES THAT THREATEN REGIONAL PEACE, SECURITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

DISTINGUISHED HONOURABLE MINISTERS

IT MUST BE APPRECIATED THAT WHILE DISTURBANCES IN THE COMESA REGION SOMETIMES TAKE CENTRE STAGE, ESPECIALLY IN THE MEDIA, WE MUST STAND AS PROUD MEMBER COUNTRIES, OWING TO THE MANY ACHIEVEMENTS THAT COMESA HAS RECORDED SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT.  WHILE THESE ARE INCREMENTAL EFFORTS, COLLECTIVELY, COMESA HAS EMERGED STRONGER ECONOMICALLY AND COMMERCIALLY.  THE RECENT OPENING OF THE CHIPATA-MCHINJI ONE-STOP BORDER FACILITY BETWEEN ZAMBIA AND MALAWI AND OTHER PROJECTS, ARE KEY REMINDERS OF WHAT WE CAN ACHIEVE WHEN PEACE PREVAILS, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS US TO IMPLEMENT PROGRAMMES THAT INSPIRE OUR CITIZENS IN THE COMESA REGION TO PROSPER.

FURTHER, THE RECENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN EAST AFRICA AND ELSEWHERE, CALL FOR REVIEW OF ELECTORAL PROCESSES TO DRAW LESSONS AND PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO FURTHER CONSOLIDATE DEMOCRACY IN THE COMESA REGION.  ALLOW ME TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY ON YOUR BEHALF AND INDEED ON MY BEHALF, TO CONGRATULATE HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO ON HIS ELECTION AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT HASSAN SHEIKH MOHAMUD ON HIS ELECTION AS THE PRESIDENT OF SOMALIA.  THIS IS HIGHLY COMMENDABLE BECAUSE OUR REGION HAS CONTINUED ON AN UPWARD TREND IN CONSOLIDATING DEMOCRACY.

HONOURABLE MINISTERS, 

I WISH TO ALSO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO APPRECIATE OUR SECRETARIAT ON ITS CONTINUED EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT THE PROGRAMMES ON PEACE AND SECURITY.  THE DIRECTIVES OF THE COMESA AUTHORITY TO PLACE MORE EMPHASIS ON CONFLICT PREVENTION, AND ON THE ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICTS, REMAINS SOME OF THE KEY FACTORS THAT DISTINGUISHES COMESA AS A SUCCESSFUL REGIONAL ECONOMIC COMMUNITY.  IN THIS REGARD, WE ARE AWARE THAT IF STRUCTURAL AND ROOT CAUSES OF STRIFE ARE ADDRESSED COMPREHENSIVELY, THEN CONFLICTS WILL BE SWATTED OR AVOIDED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNE TIME.

IT IS, THEREFORE, CRUCIAL THAT CHALLENGES, SUCH AS ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS, ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, SOCIAL EXCLUSION, UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT RATES, ARE ADDRESSED EARLY AS A PRECURSOR TO ELIMINATING CONDITIONS THAT ESCALATE CONFLICTS, WHICH EVENTUALLY LEAD TO FULL BLOWN CLASHES AND WARS.  EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT WHILE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE AND CONFLICTS CAN RESULT IN THE SIGNING OF PEACE AGREEMENTS AND IN THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES, THESE ARE NOT SUSTAINED AS LONG AS THE STRUCTURAL FACTORS REMAIN UNRESOLVED.

HONOURABLE MINISTERS,

AS I CONCLUDE, LET ME STATE THAT COMESA’S DETERMINATION TO ADDRESS ROOT CAUSES OF CONFLICTS ARE FURTHER EVIDENCED BY A DECISION OF THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO FACTOR-IN THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE PEACE AND SECURITY DYNAMICS.  THE INTENSITY AND UNEXPECTED HEAT WAVES, DROUGHTS AND FLOODS EXPERIENCED IN SOME MEMBER STATES IN CENTRAL, EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA, ARE A CLEAR SIGN THAT PEACE AND SECURITY, WITHOUT FACTORING-IN THE CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS, ARE A RECIPE FOR DISASTERS OF HIGHER PROPORTION WITH GREATER IMPACTS SUCH AS FOOD AND NUTRITION INSECURITY, DISPLACEMENTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGE LEADING TO HUGE FINANCIAL LOSSES.

WE ARE REMINDED THAT A RECENT STUDY BY THE NOTRE-DAME GLOBAL ADAPTATION INDEX, SHOWS THAT 9 OUT OF THE 21 COMESA MEMBER STATES, ARE AMONG THE 20 MOST VULNERABLE COUNTRIES GLOBALLY, DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE.  OUT OF THESE, 7 HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN SOME CONFLICTS OVER THE LAST DECADE.  RESEARCH HAS ALSO SHOWN THAT AFRICA IS MOST AFFECTED BY THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE DUE TO THE RELATIVELY HIGHER INCREASE IN SEA TEMPERATURES LEADING TO STRONGER STORMS INCLUDING THE WORST CYCLONE AS WE RECENTLY WITNESSED HERE IN THE SOUTHERN AFRICA, PARTICULARLY IN MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, MADAGASCAR AND MAURITIUS.

THE HORN OF AFRICA HAS ALSO NOT BEEN SPARED BY THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SOMALIA, ETHIOPIA AND KENYA.  I, THEREFORE, COMMEND COMESA SECRETARIAT ON ITS EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN ITS CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMMES AND ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT LINK CLIMATE TO PEACE AND SECURITY.

HONOURABLE MINISTERS, 

IN ENDING MY STATEMENT, I NOTE THAT YOUR AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING IS VERY TIGHT.  THIS CALLS FOR HARD WORK AND I WISH YOU FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS AND OUTCOMES, BUT I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO UNWIND AND TASTE WHAT LUSAKA HAS TO OFFER, AS YOU EXPLORE THE CITY AND SURROUNDING AREAS.  I FURTHER ENCOURAGE YOU TO PLACE ZAMBIA ON YOUR PLAN FOR THE NEXT FAMILY HOLIDAY OR BUSINESS TRIP.  KARIBU.

WITH THESE REMARKS, IT IS NOW MY SINGULAR HONOUR TO DECLARE THE EIGHTEENTH MEETING OF THE COMESA MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, OFFICIALLY OPEN. 

I THANK YOU.

Click on the link below for more details

VEEP SPEECH COMESA MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS JUNE 2023

 

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