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Zambia: H.E. Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, President

HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, President of Zambia , stressed that the current challenges that the world faces, including the pandemic, climate change, the war in Ukraine and its effects on supply chains, food insecurity, high commodity and energy prices, as well as the overall high cost of living, have cast a dark shadow over the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  In this context, his country welcomed the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report, while also endorsing the call to convene the “Summit of the Future”.  He called for the attainment of a “Pact for the Future” that underwrites a new form of multilateralism — where major challenges are faced together in solidarity, within a context of a rules-based international order.

Turning to the pandemic, he called for the establishment of an international public health regime that will be “devoid of hoarding vaccines and related technologies to guarantee rapid deployment of supplies from a global reserve”.  Expressing concern over the re-emergence of polio, he outlined his country’s participation in supplementary immunization activities along with other nations in Africa.  While stressing that the fight against cholera must continue, he also emphasized the need to remain alert to possible outbreaks of monkeypox, Ebola virus disease and other threats.

On the economy, he noted that, despite the external environment, his country’s recovery is on track with its GDP growth expected to surpass 3 per cent within one year of his taking office.  To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, he urged countries that are off-track to renew commitments towards eradicating poverty, tackling “energy poverty” and supporting debt restructuring and enhanced concessional finance.  He also noted that Zambia reached in principle an agreement with creditors to restructure its national debt and has reached a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on its economic transformation plan.