VISITING Italian President Sergio Mattarella has lauded Zambia for being a beacon of democracy in region and beyond.
Mr Mattarella said the country had entrenched democracy in its governance system and held successful general elections, with peaceful power transfers between losing and winning political parties.
He said institutions such as the National Assembly had been instrumental in consolidating the country’s democracy by embracing the democratic views of citizens.
“Zambia remains a shining example of a global peace beacon founded on solid democratic roots in the practice of contemporary politics. The Zambian Parliament has also proven to be a place where people are to express their democratic views,” President Mattarella said.
He said this when he addressed the National Assembly in Lusaka yesterday
Mr. Mattarella hailed founding President Kenneth Kaunda for placing Zambia on the global track-record of pioneering Africa’s emancipation through a model of Pan-Africanism.
He also hailed President Hakainde Hichilema for building on the age-old Zambia-Italy relationship which saw bilateral cooperation in many sectors of the two friendly countries.
Mr Mattarella said the presence of Italian business people in Zambia dated back to the time of that country’s support towards the construction of the Kariba Dam which is a modern-day key reservoir for electricity generation in Zambia.
He said the Italian civil society had also contributed towards consolidating relations with Zambia in the area of promoting good governance.
Mr Mattarella commended the Zambia Government for the free education policy, which he said would contribute towards developing a cadre of literate young people to drive the country’s future development agenda.
He said time for Africa to arise had come and education, especially for the girl child, was essential in protecting the continent’s youth resource.
Mr Mattarella called for enhanced European Union-Africa Union cooperation in addressing the two current global threats to humanity, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war.
He hailed President Hichilema for ensuring that Zambia placed on record its commitment to ensuring that the two challenges were addressed amicably and expeditiously.
Mr Mattarella said the recent COVID-19 vaccine donation of 5,000 Pfizer doses to Zambia by his country was a sign of a strong willingness to help the country fight the pandemic.
He said it was important for Europe to support the Africa establish pharmaceutical facilities to gain the capacity to fight the pandemic and sustain a healthy population.
Later in the evening, the two Presidents had a conducted tour of the Lusaka Museum.