The Zambia consumer protection unit has been elected the first African unit to head the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) since its establishment in 1992.

Congratulating the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for winning a bid to host the 2018 ICPEN presidency, Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame said the election demonstrates the confidence the world has in Zambia’s consumer protection drive

“Zambia through the CCPC has just been elected the 2018 President of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), becoming the first African country to head the organisation in 25 years. As Zambia takes leadership of the international Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network, it will have a positive impact on business and consumer confidence,” Siame noted in a statement issued by Ministry of Commerce public relations officer Godfrida Chanda-Chishala.

And speaking when she announced the decision, current ICPEN President Dr Ilona Ulich of Germany said Zambia had fulfilled the network’s requirements to host the 2018/2019 Presidency and expressed confidence that she would bring regional balance to the network’s programmes.

“Since there is no objection to Zambia’s bid and considering that we have not received competing bids, Zambia has therefore been elected President for the 2018-2019 tenure. It’s high time we have an African Presidency of ICPEN,” said Dr Ulich.

Meanwhile, in accepting the election, CCPC Executive Director Chilufya Sampa expressed gratitude to ICPEN for the confidence bestowed in the Commission to provide leadership to an international network.

Sampa said being the first African country to lead ICPEN since its inception in 1992, Zambia through the Commission would leverage its position in the SADC and COMESA regions to grow the network and influence the participation of other African countries in the organisation.

“This will further instill confidence among African countries to take up leadership roles at international level and ensure that global consumers are adequately protected,” he said.

Sampa said Zambia has received the challenge to drive the global consumer protection agenda during its Presidency and was confident of meetings the expectations of the Network.

He said Initial focus for the Commission would be on online services and mobile financial services, issues that appear to be affecting most African countries.

Currently, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia are the only African countries that are members of ICPEN.

Zambia received a unanimous and unopposed vote by the 119 delegates from43 mostly developed countries attending the ICPEN annual conference in Berlin Germany from April 26 to April 28.

Prior to becoming a member of ICPEN in 2013, Zambia maintained a Partnership status without voting rights for 2 years.

ICPEN is an international organisation of Consumer Protection agencies from over 60 countries that seek to protect consumers’ economic interests around the world, share cross border information and practices affecting consumers and promote global cooperation among consumer protection and law enforcement agencies.