African countries need co-operation to develop – Lungu

President Edgar Lungu says African countries have remained poor despite being endowed with natural resources because of lack of cooperation and trade amongst themselves.

And President Lungu says Zambia wants to see countries in the region remain peaceful.

President Lungu was speaking when he met his Malagasy counterpart Hery Rajaonarimampianina at State House in Lusaka yesterday when the two leaders discussed matters of peace and security and the welfare of their people.

President Rajaonarimampianina is visiting Zambia for the first time as Head of State and Chairperson of COMESA, a role he assured last year during the COMESA summit held in his country.

President Lungu noted during the meeting that African countries have remained poor despite being endowed with natural resources because of lack of cooperation and trade amongst themselves.

He said it was important for countries on the continent to share best practices in various sectors and work together for the good of their people.

“African countries need to cooperate in the development and implementation of their respective National Development Plans as they face similar problems that requires similar solution,” President Lungu said.

He emphasized on the need to encourage trade within member states of the COMESA region so that more jobs and wealth can be created for the people instead of creating jobs for people outside the region.

And President Lungu said as a member of the African Union Security Council, Zambia was engaged in ensuring peace and security in the region and commended Madagascar for embarking on the national reconciliation within their country.

He said Zambia wanted to see countries in the region such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lesotho to remain peaceful and encouraged Madagascar to continue upholding peace their country and the region.

“Zambia will support Madagascar in fostering peace and security and also urged Madagascar not to pull out of the Paris agreement on climate change,” said President Lungu.

Meanwhile, President Lungu directed Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba to dialogue with his counterpart from Madagascar to ensure that the general framework on the Joint Permanent Commission that will allow cooperation between the two countries is signed.

And President Rajaonarimampianina hailed Zambia for its role in ensuring peace and security in the region and the continent at large.

President Rajaonarimampianina said his country would support Zambia to ensure that peace and security returns in countries that have conflicts.

He said Zambia and Madagascar shared the same vision on peace and security because the continent cannot develop if there is no peace and security.

The visiting President of Madagascar added that Zambia and Madagascar should work together to fight poverty by developing the agricultural sector to ensure that productivity is enhanced.

He added that as COMESA Chairperson, he would encourage trade between and amongst countries within the region.

He further assured President Lungu that construction of the COMESA headquarters would soon commence and thanked Zambia for hosting the region economic bloc secretariat in Lusaka.

He noted that no other country was most suited to host the secretariat as Zambia had shown willingness and capacity to continue hosting the secretariat.

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