Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Ambassador Chalwe Lombe has urged Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) continuously reform their economies to the dictates of times, taking into account transport-related obstacles, and improving the productive capacities.
Mr. Lombe said this when he addressed the Fifteenth Annual Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs Foreign Affairs Ministers, under the theme: "Harnessing Coherence in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Vienna Platform of Action" on the sidelines of the High-Level Segment of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Permanent Secretary globalisation had made the world markets more integrated, hence it was cardinal to harness coherence within LLDCs, at a regional, continental and global.
He called for implementation of policy measures that have a multidimensional approach to 'landlockedness' as a development challenge.
"We can do this by continuously reforming our economies to the dictates of times, taking into account transport-related obstacles, and improving the productive capacities as a key element of reform processes," Mr. Lombe said. "This meeting is very critical because of its special focus on a topical theme in the UN Sustainable Development, which is;
Mr. Lombe said to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and to implement the six priority areas in the Vienna Platform of Action, requires strengthened partnerships and collaboration amongst LLDCs, with transit countries and development partners. "Within the broad framework of development cooperation including through South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation platforms as well as a mutually beneficial North-South Cooperation, the financial and technical support to LLDCs will enhance implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action priorities," the Permanent Secretary said. "We need to stress the critical role of the private sector in mobilising resources to complement public sector efforts in implementing projects in strategic sectors such infrastructure development, energy security, regional integration, industrialization and value addition which have a direct bearing on alleviating the challenges of landlockedness and consequently poverty reduction is key."
Mr. Lombe said Zambia, through the five-year revised Sixth National Development Plan from 2011 to 2016, has continued to make progress in sustainable development, and was preparing the Seventh National Development Plan.
"Zambia in conjunction with other landlocked developing countries and transit countries in the sub-region has developed supportive institutional frameworks, such as transport and trade facilitation bodies or coordination committees, road funds and border facilities. We have simplified, streamlined and harmonized procedures leading to increased efficiency and fewer delays. Zambia has engaged neighboring Countries and has signed simplified trade agreements and Bilateral Transport Agreements with countries such as Angola, Botswana, Congo Democratic Republic, Namibia and Tanzania respectively in an effort to harmonise trade and transport policies," Mr. Lombe said. "Zambia has prioritised infrastructure development cutting across all sectors and is aims to transform into hub in the areas of Information Communication Technology, Power Generation and Distribution, Tourism and transport Facilitation, among others."
Mr. Lombe said Zambia was part of the negotiations for the establishment of a continental free Trade Area which will create a bigger market of 650 million people.
"Diversifying the economy away from copper dependency is a key priority," he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the Zambian Government recognizes the catalytic role of the private sector in bridging the resource gaps in financing development.
The Permanent Secretary also informed Foreign Affairs Ministers of LLDCs that Zambia successfully held the Presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on 11August, 2016, at which His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu was re-elected as Zambia's President.
Mr. Lombe informed the meeting that Honourable Harry Kalaba, was elected as Member of Parliament and retained as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia but he could not attend the present LLDCs meeting due to other engagements.
Zambia is the chair of the LLDCs.