Welcome Remarks Delivered by Hon. Stanley K. Kakubo, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Zambia During the Summit for Democracy on Thursday, 30th March, 2023
• Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia,
• Dr. Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education of the United States of America,
• Honourable Ministers,
• Members of Parliament,
• Heads of Electoral Bodies,
• Heads of Judiciaries,
• Your Excellencies – Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
• Distinguished Delegates,
• Members of the Press,
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great honour for me to welcome you to Zambia and indeed to Day 2 of the Summit for Democracy.
We stand here on the cusp of something great, as Zambia co-hosts the 2023 Summit for Democracy, a journey that began in Washington D.C., where the idea was first mooted, spreading its wings all the way to Africa and the rest of the world.
But as we muse over this achievement, let us heed the wise words of the cautionary adage: “Don't judge life by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”
This quote is particularly relevant to our gathering here today—for on this day, we are once more planting the seeds of democracy, not just for our nation, but for the entire African region and beyond, to the benefit of this generation and the generations to come.
Democracy is more than just a system of government; it is a way of life that empowers individuals and communities that make Nations, respects human rights, and creates opportunities for all.
As Zambians, we have faced numerous challenges, but we have emerged stronger, more adaptive, visionary, persistent, and expressing strong leadership not just locally, but also on the global stage.
The concept of democracy has gained traction in recent years, with millions of people around the world embracing the principles of collective decision-making.
And that is why today, we are gathered to acknowledge that our citizens have entrusted our different Governments with the responsibility and accountability of governing.
It is essential to understand that democracy is not merely a system of governance, but a philosophy that prioritizes the development, peace, unity, and tranquility for nations.
As leaders, we must continue to respect the will of the electorate and provide a conducive environment for decision-making that reflects their needs and aspirations.
In essence, democracy promotes inclusivity, accountability, and transparency, creating a society that is fair, just, and equitable.
Therefore, we must approach democracy with a sense of purpose, recognizing that it is a means to an end, and that end is the well-being of the nation and its people, including its youths.
The last Zambian General election that saw the ushering into office President Hichilema, was quite unique, in that the number of youths that turned out to vote in 2021 was record-breaking and the impact of their vote is what made our democracy to continue.
Our journeys have not been easy, but like the African fish eagle—which, by the way, is the national bird of Zambia and a handful of African countries, including our neighbour, Malawi—we can continue to spread our wings and soar high; but we still have a lot to learn from one another.
This summit, therefore, represents a vital opportunity to share best practices and exchange experiences on promoting democratic governance, engaging with civil society and implementing reforms that strengthen democratic institutions.
Let me express our Government’s unwavering commitment to not only deliver a successful summit but also to engage meaningfully with every delegation. Our collective goal is to achieve improved democratic governance across the continent, and we are passionate about realising this vision. With determination and cooperation, we can make significant strides towards a better future for all Africans.
We must be cautious! Because there can be no democratic dividends without economic emancipation.
Civil rights, freedoms must go hand in hand with quality health care and first class education.
Liberties and freedoms must go hand in hand with jobs and opportunities to do business.
And that is why President Hichilema and our Government has put education at the Centre of systemic reforms by making education free from first grade to the 12th!
And that is why President Hichilema and our Government has reconfigured our National Budget by providing tangible empowerment to youth and women.
It is great to see all of you our distinguished guests h here in Lusaka.
I thank you.