Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Stanley Kakubo calls on African countries to hinge their development on the African developmental free trade area focusing on value added products and services that promote Intra-African trade.

Speaking during the official opening of the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit, Mr Kakuba said that Zambia is willing and ready to play its part in promoting and enhancing increased Intra-Africa trade and there’s need to take advantage of the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area so as to attain the aspirations of the African people.

“In order to take full advantage of the AFCFTA it is necessary for our countries to produce and trade in value added products,” he said

Mr Kakubo added that to address the challenges of experiencing the high cost of capital which is bidding and constraining to value addition, growth and transformation agenda of the industries, innovative ways of reducing the cost of capital for Africa need to be identified, resource mobilisation and also access alternative financial resources that will booster the competitiveness of the African products.

He noted that reflecting on the theme for the year 2022, everyone should be reminded of the need to up efforts in translating the continental agriculture potential into agricultural growth and food security for all.

Mr Kakubo cited that the quest to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and enhance social economic development, reaffirmed commitment in the implementation of the 6 global targets outlined in the African regional nutrition strategy.

He noted the need to seize emerging economic opportunities to improve production capabilities in the agriculture sector, as this will not only make Africa sufficient in food production but also make Africa a net exporter to the rest of the world.

“The implementation and aspirations of the agenda 2063 remains high in our organisation priority and it is for this reason that I wish to call upon all of us as members states to renew our commitment to fully implement Agenda 2063 and all of its flagship projects,” he said

Meanwhile, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahammat highlighted in his speech that the sessions of the executive council will not only discuss the implementation of different programmes but will give priority to implementation of the recommendations that aim at countering the negative impacts on the lives of the people.

Mr Mahammat noted that the specialised technical committee in charge of social development convened in order to discuss among others the issues that relate to the strengthening of gender equality, the empowerment of women and positive masculinity, decent employment, the programme for the protection of migrant workers and children.

“There are many activities that have been carried out but we focus on traditional medicine, the fight against drugs and speeding up reducing maternal mortality,” he said

He added that the implementation of the theme of 2022 on food security and nutrition has generated over the past 6 months as many activities that are focusing on the increased investment in nutrition, the strengthening of partnerships and billing institutional capacity as well as an environment that is conducive to nutrition.

He further added that the activities to be carried out should further mobilise and harness the approach for nutrition agricultural production, school feeding and other such activities.

And AU Chairperson of the Executive Council whose also Senegalese Foreign Affairs Minister Aissata Tall Sall noted that the continent’s economic integration has been on the agenda since the Abuja Treaty in 1991, and creating an effective operation of the AFCTA since January 2021 is the biggest stride made this far.

Ms Tall Sall noted the need for Africa to expedite the process in making the African CDC operational in order to produce its own quality and affordable medicine.

She added that it is important to have the African CDC up and running so that in the medium term in order to resolve the lack of access of African people to quality and affordable medications as this is the only way to reduce the dependence of imported medication from outside Africa.

“There’s need to boost its operation especially in terms of response to emergencies,” she said