President of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has reiterated his and the commitment of the Zambians to developing strong bilateral ties and exploring areas of co-operation with Ghana to the mutual benefit of the two countries.
He said the margin of victory chalked by President Akufo-Addo in the 2016 election “was a true reflection of the confidence the people of Ghana have in your vision, and for that reason, we look forward to working closely with you during your tenure of office.”
President Lungu noted further that “there are a lot of things Ghana is doing in mining, agriculture, infrastructure development, amongst others, which can benefit Zambia, by being emulated. It is about common, good practices, Mr. President, and what you do better, we should not hesitate to emulate.”
He said this Tuesday when he held bilateral talks with the Ghanaian President and his delegation, at the commencement of the three-day official State Visit by President Akufo-Addo to Zambia.
With the two countries having signed an agreement for the establishment of a Permanent Joint Commission on Co-operation (PJCC) to serve as the legal framework to address their trade and investment concerns, President Lungu bemoaned the non-implementation of this commission.
He, however, indicated that the PJCC will be given a new lease of life under his and the tenure of office of President Akufo-Addo, so as to ensure that “our Ministers will begin co-operating, and, henceforth, make the PJCC a living document.”
On the Ezulwini consensus, a position on international relations and reform of the United Nations agreed by the African Union in 2005, President Lungu was confident that the pioneering role played by President Akufo-Addo, then Foreign Minister of Ghana, in the fashioning of the document will be of invaluable to the cause of the AU.
“You were a pioneer, you were there. So as we go to the UN General Assembly in September, I am sure that Africa can count on you as an anchor,” he added.
President Lungu stressed that, “We want a prosperous Africa, which is integrated, united, peaceful and secured, and influential, not only in Africa but in the UN family.
“Regional integration is one aspect which will lead us to the Africa we want. Zambia is proud to be a member of SADC, and we are equally proud of the role that you (President Akufo-Addo) are playing in ECOWAS, in terms of peacekeeping in the region, and trying to find common ground in improving co-operation and development of the African people we are privileged to look after.”
Strong relations between Zambia and Ghana
On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked President Lungu for inviting him to visit Zambia and thanked him for attending his inauguration on January 7, regardless of the political upheavals that existed in Zambia at the time.
With Ghana-Zambia relations spanning nearly six decades, President Akufo-Addo stated that “in our time we must continue to build on it”.
The coming into full effect of the PJCC, he said, will be the means to strengthening the areas of co-operation in trade, agriculture, mining, investments, amongst others, between the two countries.
On the Ezulwuni consensus, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it is not right that we (Africa) continue to be marginalised on the Councils of the world. If today, we make the decision to bring UN reforms back to the centre of the global agenda, I think it is an important thing to do.”
President Akufo-Addo laying a wreath at the Embassy Park Presidential Burial site
“The G4 countries (Japan, Brazil, Germany and India) are ready to support the African position on UN reforms – the consensus that was fashioned in Ezulwini, some 12 years ago.”
To the Zambian President, President Akufo-Addo assured that his visit is to reciprocate the hand of friendship that you extended to Ghana, “and to be able to say that we are ready to go side-by-side with you in developing this new paradigm for our continent – democratic accountability, more rapid economic growth, focus on stimulating and empowering our various private sectors.”
This, President Akufo-Addo said, “is the way forward for us to generate prosperity for our peoples in our time. That has to be the overriding concern – what we need to do to banish poverty on our continent.
“It continues to be an anomaly that we, who sit on the wealthiest resources, continue to be the poorest people in the world. That anomaly cannot continue.”
The co-operation and collaboration of African countries with each other, President Akufo-Addo, said is the way to overcoming Africa’s developmental hurdles and, thereby, bettering the lives of the African peoples.