AFRICA will only become stronger if it unites through regional cooperation and integration,” President Edgar Lungu has said.
President Lungu said integration was a key vehicle for accelerating political and sustainable development among the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states and Zambia would continue to fully support the industrialization strategy and roadmap for the region’s development.
President Lungu said Zambia had a lot of expectations from SADC under the leadership of Botswana President Lt Gen Seretse Khama as the chairperson and King Mswati III of Swaziland as the deputy chairperson.
The President said Zambia was in the process of ratifying the treaty establishing the tripartite Free Trade Area which was encompassing SADC, COMESA and the East African Community.
President Lungu said Zambia was resolved to ensuring that SADC expeditiously implemented all protocols adding that Zambia would continue ratifying the regional protocols to facilitate their domestication in national laws.
Speaking at the State Banquet in honour of King Mswati III of Swaziland at Intercontinental Hotel on Friday, President Lungu pledged to continue building on the tradition of his predecessors in Zambia’s active engagement in SADC.
The Head of State said through industrilisation strategy and roadmap, the SADC region was aspiring to attain upper middle income status by 2050 and develop the country the country status by 2063 which he said was the African Union agenda.
“Zambia recognizes that regional integration is a key vehicle for accelerating political and sustainable development among SADC member states. We are resolved to ensuring that the regional body expeditiously implements all protocols and Zambia will continue ratifying the SADC protocols to facilitate their domestication in our national laws,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said Swaziland and Zambia enjoyed warm bilateral relations which went back to the period when both countries gained independence from Britain.
President Lungu said Swaziland and Zambia should continue on their bilateral relatioships because the two countries shared a common history and aspirations in their regional interactions programmes in SADC and COMESA.