HomeNews & EventsSPEECH FOR OFFICIAL OPENING - GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE ISCTRC

SPEECH FOR OFFICIAL OPENING - GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE ISCTRC

34TH AFRICAN UNION (AU) INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL FOR TRYPANOSOMIASIS RESEARCH AND CONTROL CONFERENCE

by

HIS EXCELLENCY,

THE PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA,

MR EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU

 

 

  • THE ROYAL HIGHNESSES  PRESENT
  • THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSIONER FOR RURAL ECONOMY AND AGRICULTURE HER EXCELLENCY – JOSEFA LEONEL CORREIA SACKO
  • MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK- HON M. KATAMBO
  • MINISTER FOR SOUTHERN PROVINCE – HON DR EDIFY HAMUKALE
  • THE PERMANENT SECRETARY FOR FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK – DR DAVID SHAMULENGE 
  • THE PERMANENT SECRETARY FOR SOUTHERN PROVINCE - MR SIMUCHOBA
  • THE SOUTHERN PROVINCE PF PROVINCIAL CHAIRMAN – MR LAWRENCE EVANS
  • DIRECTOR FOR AU-IBAR – PROF AHMED SAWAHLY
  • HIS LORDSHIP THE MAYOR OF LIVINGSTONE  
  • SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PRESENT
  • DISTINGUISED DELEGATES (LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL)
  • MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
  • LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 

 

ON BEHALF OF THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE, I WISH TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND ITS FRIENDLY PEOPLE. I FURTHER WISH TO WELCOME YOU TO THIS 34TH AFRICAN UNION (AU) INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL FOR TRYPANOSOMIASIS RESEARCH AND CONTROL CONFERENCE THAT IS BEING HOSTED BY MY GOVERNMENT HERE IN LIVINGSTONE. I WISH TO THANK THE AFRICAN UNION INTERAFRICAN BUREAU FOR ANIMAL RESOURCES FOR CHOOSING ZAMBIA AND LIVINGSTONE IN PARTICULAR, TO HOST THIS IMPORTANT CONFERENCE. THIS IS BECAUSE IN ADDITION TO THE KNOWELDGE YOU WILL GAIN, YOU ALSO GET TO ENJOY THE HOSPITALITY OF ZAMBIA’S TOURISM CAPITAL.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

ZAMBIA IS DIVERSIFYING ITS ECONOMY FROM MINING TO AGRICULTURE WITH EMPHASIS ON CASH CROPS, FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION. TO WALK THE TALK, MY GOVERNMENT HAS INITIATED SEVERAL REFORMS. A FEW WEEKS BACK ON 21ST JUNE 2017, MY GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (7NDP) TO RUN FROM 2017 TO 2021. THE MAIN GOAL OF THE 7NDP IS “TO CREATE A DIVERSIFIED AND RESILIENT ECONOMY FOR SUSTAINED HIGHER GROWTH AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.” THE INNOVATION OF THE 7NDP IS THAT IT IS AN INTEGRATED MULTI-SECTORAL PLANNING APPROACH TO DEAL WITH THE INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN VARIOUS SECTORS; IT ALSO CREATES A MORE COORDINATED AND EFFICIENT APPROACH TO IMPLEMENTING DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMMES; FURTHER, IT TARGETS THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC POTENTIAL, COMPETITIVENESS AND COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES AND FURTHERMORE, IT IDENTIFIES NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIC AREAS (DSA) WHICH ALL SECTORS CAN FOCUS ON. THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF HAT AND ERADICATION OF TSETSEFLIES THAT THIS CONFERENCE TARGETS SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THE 7thNDP DSA OF;

  1. ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION AND JOB CREATION;
  2. ENHANCED HUMAN DEVELOPMENT;
  3. REDUCING DEVELOPMENT INEQUALITIES;
  4. CREATING A CONDUCIVE GOVERNANCE ENVIRONMENT FOR A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY;

 

THEREFORE, HOSTING OF THIS CONFERENCE BY ZAMBIA IS IN LINE WITH GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES AND A CLEAR TESTIMONY OF THE IMPORTANCE THIS GOVERNMENT ATTACHES TO ANIMAL DISEASE CONTROL AND AGRICULTURE.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I AM TOLD THE THEME OF THIS CONFERENCE IS “CAPITALISING ON THE PROGRESS MADE AGAINST HUMAN AND ANIMAL TRYPANOSOMIASIS – THE WAY FORWARD IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS” IS VERY TIMELY FOR ZAMBIA AND COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME WHEN THE COUNTRY IS FACING NUMEROUS THREATS TO ITS PRIZED RESOURCE (THE ANIMAL AND HUMAN CAPITAL) FROM DISEASES LIKE TRYPANOSOMIASIS AND PESTS LIKE TSETSE FLIES. AS SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW ABOUT 40% OF THE ZAMBIA’S LAND AREA IS INFESTED WITH TSETSE FLIES THAT IMPEDES LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION AND AGRICULTURAL EXPANSION. THESE AREAS INCLUDE EASTERN, KAFUE, LOWER ZAMBEZI, KWANDO ZAMBEZI, BANGWEULU AND MWERU WANTIPA TSETSE BELTS. THE EASTERN TSETSE BELT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT RECORDING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF ANIMAL AND HUMAN TRYPANOSOMIASIS CASES. IT COVERS APPROXIMATELY 80,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS IN PARTS OF THE EASTERN, MUCHINGA, CENTRAL, AND LUSAKA PROVINCES. THIS TSETSE BELT ALSO EXTENDS INTO THREE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES OF MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE AND ZIMBABWE. YOU KNOW BETTER THAT TSETSE FLIES TRANSMIT TRYPANOSOMIASIS TO ANIMALS AND HUMANS. ABOUT 60% OF THE COUNTRY’S TRADITIONAL HERD OF CATTLE IS AT RISK OF INFECTION WITH TRYPANOSOMIASIS AND SO IS THE POPULATION OF GOATS AND SHEEP FOUND IN THE RESPECTIVE AREAS. DOGS AND PIGS ARE ALSO SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE DISEASE. HUMAN AFRICAN TRYPANOSOMIASIS (HAT), COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS SLEEPING SICKNESS AFFECTS OVER 100 PEOPLE PER YEAR. IN RECENT YEARS, THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN REPORTED CASES OF HAT AMONG TOURISTS VISITING THE COUNTRY’S MAJOR NATIONAL PARKS DEMONSTRATING THE SIGNIFICANT THREAT OF THE DISEASE ON THE TOURISM SECTOR. THEREFORE, MY GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS INITIATIVES LIKE THIS CONFERENCE AND IS LOOKING FOR PARTNERSHIPS (LOCAL, BILATERAL OR MULTILATERAL) TO DEAL WITH TRYPANOSOMIASIS DANGER TO THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

TRYPANOSOMIASIS IS A SERIOUS CHRONIC DISEASE OF ANIMALS AND HUMANS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA THAT CAUSES ENORMOUS ECONOMIC LOSSES BY SEVERELY DEPRESSING LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION AND PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH REDUCED CONCEPTION AND BIRTH RATES; MEAT, MILK, MANURE, HIDES AND SKINS PRODUCTION AS WELL AS DRAFT POWER AVAILABILITY. IN HUMANS, THE DISEASE IS USUALLY MISTAKEN FOR MALARIA THEREFORE INCREASING TIME SPENT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION. THIS RESULTS IN REDUCED PRODUCTION CAPACITY LEADING TO INCREASED BURDEN ON FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS. IF UNTREATED, TRYPANOSOMIASIS LEADS TO DEATH IN ALL INFECTED ANIMALS OR HUMANS. THEREFORE, TRYPANOSOMIASIS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY IMPACTS NEGATIVELY ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL LIVELIHOODS. THE DISEASE IS USUALLY DESCRIBED AS A NEGLECTED DISEASE THAT HAS RECEIVED LITTLE ATTENTION DESPITE ITS NET EFFECTS ON THE COMMUNITIES AND THE ECONOMY AT LARGE.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I AM AWARE THAT IN THE YEAR 2000 IN LOME, TOGO, THE AFRICAN HEADS OF STATES AND GOVERNMENTS, MADE A DECLARATION THAT THE CONTINENT SHOULD EMBARK ON ELIMINATION OF THE TRYPANOSOMIASIS PROBLEM IN THE BEST WAY AND SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE. I AM INFORMED THAT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE PAST TO ERADICATE TSETSE FLIES AND TRYPANOSOMIASIS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT HOWEVER, THIS HAS NOT BEEN ACHIEVED. I HAVE BEEN INFORMED ALSO THAT THE NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, TECHNOLOGIES EXIST TO BE ABLE TO ELIMINATE THIS PROBLEM. THE QUESTION I AM ASKING YOU THE ORGANISERS AND THE DELEGATES IS WHAT IS IT THAT WE HAVE NOT DONE RIGHT? WHAT LESSONS CAN WE DRAW TO HELP DEAL WITH THE FUTURE? WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO AS A COUNTRY, AS A REGION LIKE SADC, AND INDEED AS A CONTINENT?

THIS CONFERENCE I HAVE BEEN TOLD OFFERS A PLATFORM FOR US TO COLLECTIVELY TAKE STOCK AND REFLECT ON WHY THIS DISEASE CONTINUES TO BE SUCH A HUGE BURDEN ON US IN THIS TIME AND ERA. HISTORY TEACHES US THAT IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE THE DESIRE BUT GOOD PLANS TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING. I AM EMPLOYING YOU THE EXPERTS TO PROVIDE A CLEAR SUCCINT ROADMAP OF HOW THIS PROBLEM WILL BE ERADICATED FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

AS I CONCLUDE, LET ME EMPHASIZE THAT THE AFRICAN CONTINENT IS LOOKING UP TO THIS CONFERENCE SPECIFICALLY TO YOU ALL FOR SOLUTIONS ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO ERADICATE TRYPANOMIASIS. I WISH TO RE-AFFIRM MY GOVERNMENTS COMMITMENT TO ERADICATING TSETSEFLIES AND TRYPANOMIASIS FROM ZAMBIA IN PARTICULAR AND THE AFRICAN CONTINENT IN GENERAL.

 

IT IS NOW MY SINGULAR HONOUR AND PRIVILEDGE TO DECLARE THIS CONFERENCE OFFICIALLY OPEN AND WISH YOU A FRUITFUL DELIBERATION.

 

I THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL 

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