The government and people of Zambia have stressed their commitment to deepening bilateral relations with Ghana.
Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who made the pledge, said, “There are a lot of things you (Ghana) are 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 underscored.
This was when he held bilateral talks with President Akufo-Addo, who is on a three-day official visit to that country.
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 indicated that the PJCC would be given a new lease of life under his tenure.
“Our ministers will begin cooperating and henceforth, make the PJCC a living document.”
Touching on the Ezulwini consensus – a position on international relations and reform of the United Nations which was agreed upon by the African Union in 2005 – President Lungu was confident that the pioneering role played by President Akufo-Addo, who was then Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the fashioning of the document would be 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 said.
“We want a prosperous Africa, which is integrated, united, peaceful and secured and influential, not only in Africa but in the UN family,” Prez Edgar Lungu emphasised.
Again, he noted, “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 peace-keeping 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.”
On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked his colleague Zambian President for inviting him to his country and also thanked him for attending his inauguration in Ghana on 7th January, regardless of the political upheavals that existed in Zambia at the time, as a result of the keenly contested elections there.
With Ghana-Zambia relations spanning nearly six decades, President Akufo-Addo stated, “In our time we must continue to build on it.”
He was of the belief that the coming into full effect of the PJCC would be the means to strengthening the areas of cooperation in trade, agriculture, mining, investments, amongst others, between the two countries.
On the Ezulwini consensus, President Akufo-Addo noted, “It is not right that we (Africans) 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. 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.”
President Akufo-Addo said his visit was to reciprocate the hand of friendship his colleague Zambian leader 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.”
That in his view, “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.”
For him, the co-operation and collaboration of African countries with one another are the way to overcoming Africa’s developmental hurdles, and thereby bettering the lives of the African peoples.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent