Zambia National Women’s Lobby executive director Juliet Chibuta has congratulated Chileshe Kapwepwe on her appointment as COMESA Secretary General.

And NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale says she has no doubt that Kapwepwe has the requisite skills and experience to propel the regional body to greater heights.

“We are very glad, we are excited, [and] this is a very big position that our woman has been granted at a regional-level. We have hope and confidence in Chileshe Kapwepwe that she will perform looking at the different positions that she held in the past in the Ministry of Finance, at ZRA and also I think she has managed to hold those positions well and we are hopeful that she will do the same. If you look at the majority small-scale regional businesspeople, they are composed of women. So, we just hope that our women operations in business will be improved and that she will continue fighting the issues of regional integration and ensuring that different countries have fair trade policies,” Chibuta told News Diggers! in an interview, Thursday.

She expressed confidence that Kapwepwe would deliver effectively in her new position and further urged her to make women across the region proud.

“We just hope that she will continue with the agenda that COMESA has been driving to ensure that there is fairness in trade between countries and that, countries are not taking advantage of each other. I am sure she will continue from where Mr [Sindiso] Ngwenya left from. We have confidence in her as the women’s movement that she will even do much better because we are looking at the past and we are looking at where she came from. We know that she will deliver and so we just ask her to make us proud,” said Chibuta.

And in a statement, Mwale stated that Kapwepwe had the requisite skills and experience to propel the regional body to greater heights.

“The NGOCC congratulates Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe on her appointment and subsequent ratification as the new Secretary General of COMESA during the Heads of States Summit in Lusaka. As the focal of the women’s movement, we are elated that Ms. Kapwepwe becomes the first-ever Zambian and female Secretary General of the regional body. We have no doubt that Ms. Kapwepwe has the requisite skills and experience to propel the regional body to greater heights,” stated Mwale.

“NGOCC commends the COMESA Heads of State for breaking the long-standing gender imbalance to appoint a woman to head the regional body. This decision is an affirmation to the various regional and international protocols on promoting gender equity and equality at all levels of development. We can only urge the Heads of State in COMESA to replicate this gesture in the member countries by domesticating the various gender protocols to accelerate the attainment of the 50-50 gender parity.”

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) appointed and ratified Kapwepwe as the new Secretary General replacing long-serving veteran Zimbabwean, Sindiso Ngwenya, during the Heads of State Summit on Wednesday.