Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba says President Edgar Lungu will on Friday leave for Swaziland to attend a SADC summit.

At a media briefing today, Kalaba said it was important for President Lungu to be in attendance so that he could articulate Zambia’s position on the issues to be discussed.

“His Excellency the President of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu will be travelling to Lozitha Swaziland to attend the SADC Heads of State Summit. His Excellency the president will be accompanied by myself, the Honourable Minister for National Planning as well as the Minister of Commerce and Trade,” Kalaba said.

“It is a very crucial summit that His Excellency needs to attend in order for Zambia not to lag behind when decisions of this magnitude are being made because it is our citizens in Zambia that trade with other citizens in other SADC countries and so the action plan and the various reports that will be given to the leaders, it is extremely paramount for the president to be in attendance in person so that Zambia’s position is clearly articulated.”

Kalaba explained that the Heads of State would review the progress on implementation of SADC programmes and consider the application of Comoros and Burundi to be member states among other issues.

“The SADC Summit will consider basically three issues, the first issue is the summit will consider the ministerial retreat, ministers of foreign affairs will be in a retreat starting tomorrow until Wednesday after considering that report of the retreat, the Heads of State will also consider another ministerial report on the special taskforce team that was given the responsibility to look at the issues of regional integration and trade within SADC. The other report which the Heads of State will look at is the issue of the acceptance to SADC as member states of Comoros as well as Burundi,” Kalaba said.

“You will recall that in 2015, SADC adopted these three which is the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and now, during this summit, the leaders will adopt the action plan so that it is rolled out in individual member states of SADC because we are looking at the SADC we want by 2030 so the leaders want to ensure that industrialisation is frontloaded in order to give the region a competitive edge in terms of trade matters.”

Kalaba said President Lungu would return on March 19th.

“Of course the summit will be proceeded by the meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs or rather the council of ministers as well as the senior officials meeting which will be taking place starting tomorrow. His Excellency leaves on Friday the 17th and will return immediately after the conclusion of matters,” said Kalaba.