President Edgar Lungu has commended team members from the African Peer Review Forum of Heads of State and Government Continental Secretariat for their dedication towards the targeted review of the Tourism and Mining Sector in Zambia.
President Lungu said the team conducted a meticulous mission that highlighted salient issues in both sectors in the country.
He stated that the detailed targeted review report by the consultants echoes the great potential of heritage and conservation sites in the Northern circuit of Zambia.
The Head of State said this in a speech read on his behalf by Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji during the Visual 30th Summit of the African Peer Review Forum of the participating Heads of States and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Lusaka today.
“I wish to state that heritage and conservation sites also provide the main base of tourism in Zambia. The observation of limited marketing strategies for the tourism products as a challenge is a real one and this is what has overshadowed the numerous tourist attractions in Zambia,” he said.
Dr Lungu indicated that the Zambian government together with the relevant stakeholders, has embarked on a vigorous strategy of marketing Zambia’s tourism products, both within the continent and beyond.
He said all the strategies being done by the government are running despite the current challenges being faced as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
“The targeted review team visited Zambia at a time when there was debate on whether to convert part of the lower Zambezi national park to allow mining activities. The team visited the area to physically assess the situation, through consultations with local stakeholders,” he explained.
President Lungu said Zambia appreciates the recommendations from the team to conduct a detailed feasibility study on the matter.
He added that Zambia has been progressing very well in the mining sector, with the opening of new mines in the North-Western province of Zambia, where large deposits of copper were discovered.
The President however indicated that the benefits of the discovery of copper products have not fully permeated to the local people, as observed and alluded to in the report.
“It should, however, be understood that the proceeds of such investments usually takes time to trickle down to local communities, let alone to the country at large,” he said.
Dr Lungu highlighted that the Zambian government remains committed to ensuring that local communities begin to benefit from the opening up of the new mines.
He explained that the report on mineral resources also highlights the importance of a predicable tax regime to guarantee investments.
The President agreed with the observations in the report that frequent tax change regime affects long-term investment of the mining companies.
“Nevertheless, I wish to clarify that, in the national interest, government is compelled to make such adjustments to ensure that we have a win-win situation for all parties involved,” he said.
President Lungu disclosed that the recent discovery of gold in the North-Western Province provides the Zambian government an opportunity to learn lessons from other gold- mining African countries on how it can harness this potential for the benefit of its people.
He reiterated his government’s appreciation of the targeted review team for unearthing the best practices in both tourism and mining sectors saying the recommendations provided will be prioritized accordingly, under short, medium and long-term categories.
And South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who chaired the meeting said COVID-19 has caused great suffering on people and has claimed many lives.
Mr Ramaphosa said the pandemic has strained the system of governance in many governments in Africa and world over.
He stated that the APRM takes on a great significance as Africa tries to rebuild itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the APRM summit will help in strengthening the African counties effective governance and their social economic development.
The mandate of the APRM is to ensure that policies and practices of participating Member States conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards contained in the African Union Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.
During the same meeting, a moment of silent was observed in honour and memory of late President of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli.
Heads of State in attendance were Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio.
And other dignitaries present were Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank Group.
I agree with my boss . This is commendable. Our government is doing very well. This is why we are winning again in August. F00lish upnd are busy spending sleepless nights attacking us and yet if you ask them what their manifesto is, ndwiiiiii
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