PRESIDENT Michael Sata has last night arrived back into the country from Brussels after attending the just ended 4th European Union (EU) and Africa summit.
And the EU-Africa summit has ended with a call for investment and closer economic integration of the two continents will accelerate that growth.
President Sata who made an intervention at the summit was accompanied by Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba and Commerce minister Bob Sichinga.
Mr Sata who left Brussels with his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah was seen off at the airport by Zambia’s Ambassador the Belgium and the EU Grace Kabwe.
In a communique at the close of the summit, leaders said they were convinced that the growth of the two continents would be mutually beneficial as both economies remained closely linked.
They pledged to work together to ensure that the growth of one continent would help the other.
“People must remain at the heart of our partnership, so we pledge today to provide them with the opportunities they need. It is the essence of our partnership that we tackle these challenges more effectively if we tackle them together, to the benefit of our citizens.
“Our joint agenda will have people, prosperity and peace and security at its core,” they said.
This is contained in a declaration released after the summit for the Heads of State and Government of the EU and Africa, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the President of the African Union (AU) and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The leaders also observed that Peace and Security were essential prerequisites for development and prosperity.
Conflict and instability can undermine all efforts to reduce poverty and to accelerate growth.
“We pledge to ensure a transparent, democratic, accountable and peaceful environment for those we represent, and to uphold our common values and goals in pursuit of good governance, democracy and the rule of law.
“We commit ourselves to respect all rights and principles set out in the Treaties and Charters that we have respectively signed and ratified, and to work together in all countries to respect our peoples’ demands for justice, reconciliation, respect for international law, human rights, gender equality and dignity, “the declaration read.
The leaders from the two continents said they strongly support the African aspiration and commitment to ensure peace, security and stability in Africa, in the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).
In order to improve the African capacity to predict and prevent
or respond to crises, the EU was committed to operationalise the multidimensional African Stand by Force and to recognise the African Capacity for Immediate Responses to Crises (ACIRC), as a transitional and complementary tool to the African Standby Force for further enhancing the AU’s capacity to respond rapidly to crises, and to reinforce the support to the Continental Early Warning System.
The summit welcomed the progress made to date in enhancing the capacity of the AU and regional organisations to manage crises on the continent.
“We acknowledge the successful deployment of peace support operations by the AU in Darfur (Sudan), Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic and the collective efforts in the Great Lakes and South Sudan to reduce conflict in those countries, “the declaration said.
The leaders agreed that the Fifth Summit would take place in Africa in 2017