President Edgar Lungu received applause when he presented a report on Zambia, on the implementation of the National Plan of Action from several African leaders at the 26th session of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia yesterday.
The Heads of State and Government are gathered in Addis Ababa Ethiopia at the on-going 28th ordinary session of the African Union summit which started on January 22 and ends on January 31, 2017.
Namibian President Hage Geingob, Senegalese President Macky Saul and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who the Chairperson of the APRM were among the notable leaders that appreciated President Lungu and Zambia for continued improvements and reforms in good governance.
Mr Kenyatta recognised Zambia and other African countries for the peaceful elections that were held in August, 2016.
President Saul recalled and appreciated Zambia’s long history of hospitality and peace.
Speaking when he presented the progress report yesterday, President Lungu outlined the highlights of the APRM report, congratulated and welcomed Zambia’s neighbour Namibia to the APRM after joining the forum on the same day.
President Lungu also highlighted a number of issues on the report which include economic governance and management, democracy and political governance, gender parity, decentralisation, job creation, economic diversification among others.
Mr Lungu said government has made progress on gender parity since the last peer review which also culminated in the creation of the Ministry of Gender to spearhead the attainment of female representation.
“In 2011, Zambia’s cabinet had 14 percent of female cabinet Ministers. By 2016, the cabinet had 28 percent of female cabinet ministers,” he said as the assembly erupted into loud applause.
On decentralisation, President Lungu said the creation of 33 new districts in Zambia once fully established will result into the creation of 2,300 jobs.
Under Democracy and political governance, President Lungu said Zambia has embarked on the process of consequential legislation to the amended constitution to operationlise the constitution.
He expressed sadness that the referendum to enhance the bill of rights was not successful because it did not meet the required threshold.
President Lungu told the forum that he has commissioned an inquiry in voting patterns, to among others establish the reasons for the low voter turnout during elections since 2006.
On economic governance and management, the President said economic growth averaged 5.3 percent per annum and attributed the growth to the development in the construction sector.
Mr Lungu said the impressive growth was however reduced by the poor performance in agriculture in 2013 and 2015 and mining sectors in 2014.
He said Zambia recorded its lowest economic growth as it was hit by a devastating external shocks.
“Zambia’s over dependence on the mining sector has been a major concern. We now have in place an enhanced programme to drive our private sector development, industrialisation and job creation,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Chairperson of the APRM Uhuru Kenyatta who is also Kenyan President among other issues said Africa has recorded a reduction in the mortality rate by 49 percent.
And Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Erastus Mwecha urged APRM member countries to work towards meaningful contributions in areas surrounding finance and other issues if the mechanism is to bear fruits.