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Zambia itches to host AU development secretariat

HARRY Kalaba.

DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba has urged the African Union (AU) Executive Council to quickly finalise the logistics

and financing for the relocation of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) secretariat to Lusaka.
ECOSOCC was established as an advisory organ of the AU to promote the African civil society in the integration and development agenda of the continent and implementation of programmes such as peace, security, social and economic.
Speaking during the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Kalaba urged the Executive council to direct the African Union Commission to urgently appoint an interim ECOSOCC Director who would supervise the preparations of all logistics pertaining to the operations of the interim structure.
Mr Kalaba said the Zambian Government has reaffirmed its Commitment to hosting ECOSOCC by hosting an AU Evaluation Mission to Lusaka whose purpose was to establish Zambia’s readiness to host the ECOSOCC Secretariat.
This is contained in a statement made available by First Secretary-Press and Tourism at the Zambian Mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Inutu Mwanza.
Mr Kalaba said the evaluation team from AU was taken on a tour of proposed office space for the interim secretariat, including proposed accommodation for the executive secretary.
Mr Kalaba further said the evaluation mission was also shown a preliminary blueprint design of the permanent ECOSOCC Secretariat and was requested to submit a check-list of requirements to enable the finalisation of the blueprint design by the Zambian government.
He expressed concern that to date the recruitment of staff by the AU Commissions has not progressed and the absence of devoted staff to the organ has diminished the advisory role of the organ.
Mr Kalaba observed that currently only staff from the Department of Citizen and Diaspora Organisation are attached to the organ.
He also said the information requested by the government of Zambia regarding the establishment and staffing of the interim secretariat has not been availed, a predicament which he said was hindering government’s efforts to support the execution.
And according to Ms Mwanza, Minister of Sport Moses Mawere says government supports the African Union declaration of the year 2018 to 2027 as the Decade for Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment in Africa, reports Doreen Nawa in Lusaka.
Speaking during the 31st ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union, Mr Mawere said government supports the report because it seeks to address the problems faced by the youth on the continent.
Mr Mawere said the Zambian government has put in place measures to address challenges of unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial skills among the youth.
This is according to a statement issued by Ms Mwanza in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The minister cited the introduction of business and entrepreneurial programmes in high learning institutions as a measure government has put in place to encourage the youth to venture into entrepreneurship.

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