SADC


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By Michael Malakata , IDG News Service , 04/02/2008

The Zambia Telecommunications company (Zamtel) has completed the construction of a fiber-optic network that will be connected to countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

Company Managing Director Simon Tembo said the construction of the Lusaka Metropolitan Optic Fibre Cable has been completed and will provide broadband connectivity services in Zambia and the region.
The cable, built for US$48 million, will be connected to international cables running under the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Sudan and Europe.

Zamtel is a government-run telco that operates a sister mobile communications company, Cellz.

The SADC region has 14 countries including Angola, Malawi, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.

“The cable will provide business houses, government ministries and embassies with broadband connectivity for broadband services,” Tembo said Tuesday.

The cable is expected to bring down the cost of telecommunications in Zambia and regional countries, Tembo said, and will be operational by the end of this month.

The country’s Copperbelt Province Minister Mwansa Mbulakulima said the Democratic Republic of Congo government is already planning to link Zamtel’s cable to the Vodacom telecommunications network in the nation.

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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian security forces are on alert as the country watches the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe where delayed election results have raised concern about violence.

Defence Minister George Mpombo said the situation in Zimbabwe was worrying although he ruled out immediate post-election violence similar to that in Kenya after a December 27 vote.

“So far the situation in Zimbabwe does not present immediate security risks, but our security is on the usual alert at the moment and we are monitoring the situation closely,” Mpombo told Reuters.

He said there was concern that violence could break out after Zimbabwe announced the result of the election.

“The concern is if there is violence there, we would definitely be affected as a neighbour and we hope they will manage the situation properly,” Mpombo said.

Zambia holds the chairmanship of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which the west accuses of being too soft on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa described Zimbabwe as a “sinking Titanic” last year before quickly softening his stance after he faced isolation by other SADC leaders.

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Map of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Heavy rains in the Zambezi valley have flooded four countries

Zambia has declared the floods sweeping through the country “a national disaster”.

The authorities have closed schools, converting them into shelters for thousands of displaced people.

President Levy Mwanawasa, in a television address, said a concerted effort was needed by the whole country to deal with the crisis.

More than 40 people have been killed in the region, and roads, crops and livestock destroyed.

Neighbouring Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have also been affected by heavy rains for several weeks, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks.

On Thursday, President Mwanawasa visited some of the worst affected areas.

“This is a national disaster and it requires concerted efforts of all of us to solve,” Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said on state television.

The government’s Disaster Management Unit and the Red Cross have set up a $250m contingency fund to be used to acquire emergency shelters, such as tents, and food kits.

Source: BBC World News

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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia’s international reserves hit over a billion dollars this year, the highest figure in the country’s history, the central bank governor announced on Saturday.
Caleb Fundanga said Zambia had recorded 1.1 billion dollars in foreign reserves up from 706 million dollars that the country accumulated in 2006.

“Zambia has continued to record favourable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of gross international reserves of 1.1 billion in December 2007,” Fundanga said in a statement.

“This is the highest the country has ever accumulated,” he added.

He said Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2008, while the country’s inflation will remain at the single-digit level.

“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single-digit inflation,” Fundanga said.

Zambia’s inflation rate stands at 8.9 percent.

He said the country will face major challenges next year due to the projected rise in prices of petroleum products at the international market and the higher electricity tariffs in the southern African region.

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lpm.jpgLUSAKA (AFP) — Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has urged the British prime minister to continue speaking out against Zimbabwe until a solution is found to the country’s crises, media reported Sunday.

Mwanawasa, who heads the southern African regional bloc SADC, welcomed the pressure Gordon Brown was putting on Harare but expressed disappointment at his boycott of next weekend’s EU-Africa summit in Portugal, reports said.

The British premier has said he would not attend the meeting if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there.

“I have said the nation faces a lot of challenges. Now, he (Brown) shouldn’t get tired of speaking and he must continue until the harvest (of his efforts),” privately-owned The Sunday Post newspaper quoted Mwanawasa as saying.

“I appeal to Brown and the entire British nation that they should continue with their efforts until the situation in Zimbabwe has been resolved,” he was quoted as telling reporters on Saturday in Lusaka.

State-owned newspapers such as The Sunday Mail and The Sunday Times also reported the story. “Do not give up on Zimbabwe”, wrote the Mail’s headline.

Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of an economic crisis.

sadcmap.jpgIt has the world’s highest rate of inflation — about 8,000 percent — while four in every five people are unemployed and 80 percent of the population live below the poverty threshold.

Mwanawasa, who spoke as he was leaving for Germany, en route to Portugal for the summit, welcomed the fact that Brown has agreed to send a representative to the Lisbon meeting.

The Zambian leader, who heads the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), once likened the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe to that of a ‘sinking titanic’ where citizens were jumping out to seek refuge in other countries.

Copyright © 2007 AFP. All rights reserved

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President Mwanawasa says Portugal which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), has assured him that all African leaders are invited to the EU-African Union (AU) summit.

Dr. Mwanawasa who is also SADC Chairman, has appealed to British Prime Minister, Golden Brown to attend the summit if Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe is invited.

He said as a former colonising empire of most African countries, Britain must reconsider its stance to boycott the summit if Mr. Mugabe attends.

The President said all SADC heads of state and government are happy that Mr. Mugabe has been invited and are all willing to attend as long as Mr. Mugabe will be in Lisbon.

Dr. Mwanawasa was speaking at Lusaka International Airport, Tuesday upon arrival from New York where he had gone to attend the UN General Assembly.

Many African leaders, who want President Mugabe to attend the summit to help tackle his country’s problem, say they will boycott the summit if he is barred.

Mr. Brown said neither he nor any senior member of his government would attend the summit alongside, Mr. Mugabe.

At a news conference in London, Mr. Brown reiterated his determination to boycott the first European Union Africa Union summit in seven years, on account of Mr. Mugabe.

This is on account of accusations among them, Mr. Mugabe’s poor, human rights record, election rigging and the Land issue..

Mr. Mugabe blames Western powers for the economic crisis and accuses them – and former colonial ruler Britain in particular – of plotting with the opposition to oust him.

Currently he is subject to a European Union travel ban but that could be suspended to allow him to attend the December meeting.

Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa arrived home, Monday from a successful visit to the U.S and Britain.

The President arrived aboard a British Airways plane at Lusaka International Airport.

He was met on arrival by Vice President, Rupiah Banda, Cabinet Ministers, Senior government officials and Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) party members.

The President was in New York to attend the 62nd
session of the United Nations General Assembly.

While there, he participated in high level meetings on climate change and called on developed countries to do more about their industrial emissions.

President Mwanawasa who also attended the General Assembly as SADC Chairman, was the First among African Presidents to address the Assembly.

While in the US, President Mwanawasa also received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Law at the Harding University in Arkansa, Little Rock.

He was honoured for his exemplary contributions to the development of Laws in Zambia as well as in the areas of democracy.

In London, President Mwanawasa addressed a business meeting organized by the Duetche Bank, where he encouraged potential investors to invest in Zambia.

Source: ZNBC

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September 30th, 2007 

By Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com  

NEW YORK — World leaders, CEOs, celebrities and scholars gathered for the opening of the third annual Clinton Global Initiative conference. 

Former President Bill Clinton welcomed the participants from 72 countries and the 52 current and former heads of States who made their way across town from the UN General Assembly. “We are faced with problems that the government is not solving, or the government cannot solve alone,” Clinton said. 

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former US Vice President Al Gore led the opening plenary. They were joined by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Walmart President and CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., Archbishop Emeritus and spiritual leader Desmond Tutu and The World Bank Group President Robert Zeellick. 

Clinton introduced the opening plenary panelists, and prefaced his introduction of President Arroyo. He proudly announced that Arroyo was an old friend and a college classmate at Georgetown University. “We’ve been friends for a long, long time,” Clinton said of Arroyo, “and her country’s economy is on the way up and it’s in a very good shape.” 

The former US president also acknowledged the fact that the Philippines “had its fair share of internal conflict brought about by differences in ideology and religion” and asked Arroyo how her government is trying to promote reconciliation in the country. 

“We have developed a paradigm for peace in Mindanao using both soft and hard power,” Arroyo remarked. Soft power, she explained, is about development, while hard power focused on military efforts to attain peace. 

“We do it through interfaith dialogues to promote lasting peace and political stability in our country,” Arroyo said, and explained that her government has been exerting efforts to deepen understanding among various faiths and cultures particularly in parts of Mindanao. 

The annual meeting is the epicenter for global philanthropy and the forum for people who want to get involved and to make a difference. “We’re here because the world is bedeviled by growing inequality. We’re here because we accept our shared responsibility for correcting our problems and we’re here because we believe we can make a difference,” Clinton said. 

The conference is focused on finding ways to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems such as lack of education, poverty alleviation, global health, energy and climate change. Among the notable attendees were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, tennis star Andre Agassi and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. 

Former Vice President Gore brought in more passion to the plenary by sharing his thoughts and ideas about how the world needs more action, rather than talk. “The US has to lead the world in solving this climate crisis and I challenge President Bush to take that step,” Gore said, “The effort to solve the climate crisis is the key to solving other problems.” 

On the other hand, Archbishop Desmond Tutu brought in the lighter side, nonetheless thought-provoking. “Someone in San Francisco approached me and said, ‘Archbishop Mandela!’,” he said laughing, “two for the price of one.” 

Clinton introduced Tutu, saying that he had one of the best one-liners at the conference last year. The archbishop likened religion to a knife. “You can use it to slice bread, which is good, or you can also use it to slice off your neighbor’s arm, which is bad,” he said. 

Arroyo said that terrorists use religion to cause warfare and that something must be done in order to promote more understanding. President Karzai summed it up, saying that it is the “misuse of religion for political purposes that creates the problems.”

In her closing remark, Arroyo thanked Clinton for the opportunity to share to the world that the Philippines had a 7.5% growth rate in the last quarter. 

The last remark, from Desmond Tutu, capped the opening plenary. “How about us helping God realize His utopian dream? God dreams that we could all live in harmony as members of one family – the gays, the lesbians, the so-called straight…,” he said, as he was cut-off by a thunderous applause, and as the camera panned to Clinton, the former president remarked smiling, “It’s up right there with the knife comment.”  

Meanwhile, according to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Mwanawasa urged countries in the west to redeem themselves before criticizing China for giving more aid to Africa.

Speaking when he answered questions from members of staff of the Clinton Global Initiative, the president said governments in the west were often reluctant to finance development projects in Africa. 

Dr. Mwanawasa said Africa and Zambia in particular is in a hurry to develop and China has come out a dependable partner. The President said very soon, China will embark on a $900 million economic zone project on the Copperbelt where over 60,000 people will be employed.  

The president said also said those wishing to help the country develop are most welcome. On the Zimbawean question, Dr. Mwanawasa reiterated that if Mr Robert Mugabe is not invited to the EU/Africa summit scheduled for Portugal in December, then the whole SADC region will not attend.  

He said the SADC member states strongly feel that isolating Mr. Mugabe was not the answer. Dr. Mwanawasa, who is also the SADC chairman, said the leaders in the region were well resolved to continue engaging Mr. Mugabe in dialogue rather than isolating him as the west would rather do.    

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From EMMERSON MUCHANGWE in New York

front01.jpgTHE European Union (EU) will not discriminate against any African leader when inviting them to attend the Africa-Europe summit in Portugal in December this year.

This came to light in New York yesterday when President Mwanawasa, the chairman of Southern African Development Community (SADC), held closed-door talks with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the chairperson of the EU, on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to discuss the EU-Africa summit.

Portugal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Joao Gomes Cravinuo said it was unfortunate that the issue of Zimbabwe’s invitation was being given more prominence at the expense of other issues.

Mr Gravinuo said Portugal would not discriminate when inviting delegates to the summit.

“The issue of Zimbabwe’s participation at the EU-Africa summit will not
hinder the holding of a successful summit,” Mr Gravinuo said.

He said the EU and Portugal, in particular, were interested in seeing more cooperation between Europe and Africa.

He said the Portuguese Government felt that it should consult President Mwanawasa on the preparations of the summit because he chairs SADC, “which is a very strong regional grouping.”

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kabinga Pande said the Portuguese Prime Minister updated Mr Mwanawasa on the preparations for the Lisbon summit.

Mr Pande who was among the senior officials that attended the closed-door talks, said President Mwanawasa was happy that preparations for the summit had reached an advanced stage.

The Lisbon EU-Africa summit will be the second such high-level meeting between Europe and Africa.

The first was held in Cairo, Egypt in 2003.

Earlier, when he met President Mugabe, President Mwanawasa maintained that the official position of SADC was that none of the member countries would attend the Lisbon summit if Mr Mugabe was barred.

Mr Mwanawasa summed up the position of SADC as “No Mugabe, No Summit.”

Meanwhile, the EU Head of Delegation in Zambia, Dr Derek Fee, says the Zambia Daily Mail distorted his statement in which he said whilst he understood President Mwanawasa’s position as part of African solidarity, it had to be understood also that Mr Mugabe and his top officials still faced a travel ban to Europe.

A statement issued in Lusaka yesterday said: “Dr Fee wishes to clarify the remarks in the Zambia Daily Mail edition of Tuesday, September 25th, 2007, under the headline ‘EU blocks Mugabe’.”

“Although the EU travel ban against President Mugabe and his officials is still in force, this may not preclude President Mugabe from attending the summit,” he said.

The controversy was triggered last week after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would boycott the summit if President Mugabe was allowed to attend.

Earlier in the day, President Mwanawasa held a private meeting with Mr.
Jack Greyuberg of Greyuberg Petroleum Company.

The meeting was one of the many lined up for the President to woo investors to Zambia on the sidelines of the ongoing UN 62nd General Assembly which opened on Monday. -ZANIS/Daily Mail

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The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
 

 

Emmerson Muchangwe
New York

President Mwanawasa has arrived New York in the US ahead of a tight programme during this year’s regular session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Mr Mwanawasa, who arrived on Saturday night via London aboard a British Airways plane, was met at JFK International airport by Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Lazarous Kapambwe and other senior embassy staff.

The President was driven straight to New York’s Palace Hotel where he is staying.

At the hotel, the President was received by Zambia’s Ambassador to the US, Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, deputy permanent representative, Benard Mpundu and several other embassy staff.

The President is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Kabinga Pande, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Ben Kapita, Science and Technology Minister, Peter Daka, Health Minister, Brian Chituwo, Education Minister, Geoffrey Lungwanga, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Felix Mutati, Secretary to the Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Tens Kapoma.

During his stay in New York, Mr Mwanawasa, who is also Southern Africa Community Development (SADC) chairperson, will take part in various discussions, prominent among which will be one on climate change.

Mr Mwanawasa will start his activities at the UN by attending a reception to be hosted by Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, for all Heads of State attending the General Assembly.

The President will the be among the other Heads of State and Government who will participate in the opening of the 62nd regular session.

Mr Mwanawasa will also make a presentation on climate where he is expected to give a general view of how the SADC region has been affected by the changes in climate and how the various countries in the region are responding to the challenges of adapting to climate change.

The President will be part of the discussants in the plenary session to look at the issue of adaptation in more detail.

In the second plenary session which will look at the mitigation aspect, the President will be represented in the discussion by ministers of Agriculture and Health, Mr Kapita and Dr Chituwo respectively while in the plenary session on technology, Mr Daka and Professor Lungwangwa ministers in charge of Science and Technology and Education respectively would be among the discussants.

Others expected to partcipate in the discussions are Mr Mutati and Dr Kanganja in the fourth plenary session on financing aspect in relation to climate change.

The President will, among other activities, on Tuesday meet with Mr Jack Grynberg of Grynberg Petroleum Company to discuss various issues pertaining to investment before taking part in the round table discussion on human rights and democracy later in the day.

Mr Mwanawasa will on Wednesday deliver another statement to the General Assembly after which he will attend a general debate on the 62nd regular session of the United Nations.

The President will on Thursday travel to Arkansas State where he will receive an award from the Harding University before returning to New York where he will have several engagements including a meeting with Zambians living in New York on Saturday, at the Zambian mission.

On Sunday, Mr Mwanawasa will travel to Seattle in Washingston State where he will attend a business forum as well as meeting with several chief executives of various companies based in the US.

The President is also expected to attend to a number of business engagements in London before returning home in the first week of October.

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The factors boosting commodity prices such as copper, uranium, gold, cobalt, sugar, etc. are likely to continue, keeping those prices up …

The good times are here to stay in the short to medium term. Sugar is in high demand in the European Union and Nakambala can reap high returns from this. 

The price of gold, South Africa’s biggest export, has surged 16 percent this year, helping to underpin the currency for instance.  Copper has climbed 25 percent, benefiting Zambia, Africa’s biggest producer of the metal.

Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa is benefiting from rising prices of gold, oil and copper, helping the region’s economy expand an estimated 6.8 percent this year, from 5.5 percent last year. The challenge now is for countries like Zambia that are dependent on commodity exports to properly “manage” the commodity boom.

If we respect the truth, then we need to admit that commodity boom phases have not been managed well in the past, and we are at risk of making the same mistakes again. The main factors underpinning commodity prices were strong demand for platinum in devices that cut pollution in cars and rising demand in China and other emerging markets.

Still, commodity prices might drop, hurting growth in some African countries. To assume that current prices and the current boom phase reflects a permanent shift, rather than a temporary opportunity, would be a naive and risky approach to adopt. 

If our analysis is correct, then the slump will come and it will bring with it a significant decline in commodity prices but prudent asset management now would help governments that are diversified enough to transition into manufacturing, construction and service sectors.

 

 

 

However, with norminal GDP rising from $3.24 billion in 2000 to well over $10.71 billion in 2006; per capita GDP income thriving from $303.00  in 2000 to $902.00 in 2006; inflation falling from 26.1% in 2000 to just 9.2% for fiscal year 2006; tourism at its highest peak and a combination of other factors … the Zambian Enterprise is headed for some good times, that’s the memo this week from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle  

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