GOVERNMENT has so far received K1.1 million in cash and pledges from financial institutions and other organisations towards the hosting of the 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly to be held in Lusaka this month.

The assembly, whose theme is “Rejuvenating Democracy: Giving Voice to the Youth”, will be held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka between March 19 and 23, 2016.

This came to light yesterday when Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini officially launched the corporate partnership aimed at mobilising resources for the historical hosting of the IPU.

Zambia becomes only the fourth country in Africa to host the event after Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda since its establishment in 1989.

Among the institutions which were present at the launch and have offered to help Zambia successfully host the event through financial aid were Airtel, Zanaco, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Stanbic bank, Southern Cross Motors, and Madison.

Speaking during the launch, Dr. Matibini said the assembly presented a chance for Zambian investment to showcase its potential as well as promoting the country as a tourism destination as over 1400 delegates and an additional 600 accompanying individuals were expected to attend. He said the hosting of the event came with huge costs which government alone could not manage to meet adding that it was for that reason that the National Assembly decided to bring on board cooperating partners to help cushion the costs and lessen the financial burden on government.

“During this conference, we expect about 1,400 delegates and an estimated 600 accompanying persons.

It is therefore important that Zambia showcases itself in order to attract investment and promote the country as a tourist destination.

“Hosting of an event of this magnitude comes with heavy costs. It is for this reason that the secretariat at the National Assembly of Zambia decided to approach you and invite you to collaborate with us in order to ensure the successful hosting of the assembly,” Dr. Matibini said.

He encouraged other corporate entities to emulate what their counterparts had done in partnering with government as the event presented massive business prospects which they could take advantage of such as the right to brand any event of their choice at the assembly.

And Clerk of the National Assembly Doris Mwiinga said close collaboration between Government and its partners would ensure that the hurdles faced during preparations for the event were overcome.

Ms. Mwiinga said Government had already invested heavily in face-lifting the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the venue for the assembly, which included the upgrading of major infrastructure.

“Hosting of events as big as the IPU assembly has its own challenges and these can better be addressed when institutions in the hosting countries align their interests and pool their varied resources, including know-how, networks and brand, and work together to achieve common goals.

“Partnerships promote common sense, a common purpose, and strong ethics.  It is for this reason that the National Assembly of Zambia thought it prudent to partner with other organisations such as the ones that are represented at this event to help with preparations,” Ms. Mwiinga said.

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