President Edgar Lungu has congratulated Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on his election as African Union Chair for the year 2021 and further commended Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa the past Chairperson.
In contributing to the deliberations on Africa’s response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the President stated that Zambia is undertaking internal consultations on the possibility of availing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to the Zambian people to successfully control the pandemic.
The President stated that a task force of local experts and scientists had been set up to advise on the whole process and ensure due diligence is followed in the deployment and administration of the vaccines to the general population.
The President regretted that the pandemic, which is currently in its second wave and intensified by a new strain of the virus, had put pressure and strain on the health service delivery system.
The Head of State emphasized the need for expansion of infrastructure for diagnosis of cases and patient management; the capacity to produce enough oxygen; and the strengthening of supply chain, as well as the ability to produce certain essential commodities locally.
“We are, indeed, living in extremely difficult times where, amongst many other challenges, most of our health systems are under pressure due to the unfortunate increase of COVID-19 patients and deaths.
However, through the Africa CDC, the Commission has been able to provide technical and material support which has been instrumental in strengthening our capacity to respond to the pandemic with adequate skills and knowledge,” the President said.
The Head of State acknowledged Zambia’s receipt of the COVID-19 assistance package of the Jack Ma Foundation, which greatly assisted in the prevention and control of the outbreak of the disease during the first wave.
The President further applauded the Commission and the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC), for the continued leadership and guidance including the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 and the establishment of the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund.
President Lumgu was represented bu Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Joseph Malanji, M.P wjo read the remarks on his behalf.
Hon. Malanji is representing His Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia at the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
The two-day Summit is being held via videoconferencing due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Hon. Malanji is accompanied by Hon. Ministers of Health and Commerce Trade and Industry. Also in attendance are the Permanent Secretaries from the respective Ministries and other senior Government officials from the Ministries of Justice, Health, Commerce and Tourism. The Embassy of Zambia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is also in attendance.
The Summit has been convened under the theme “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We want”.
The highlight of this year’s Summit will be elections of the senior leadership of the African Union Commission. Zambia has sponsored the candidature of Ambassador Albert Muchanga, who is seeking re-election as Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining. The President has also supported the candidature of His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the current Commission Chairperson who is seeking re-election.
This is according to the statement issued by issued by Chansa Kabwela, Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.