Washington, DC — Remarks by His Excellency Mr. Levy P. Mwanawasa, Sc., President Of The Republic Of Zambia At The Friends Of Zambia Reception at The Metropolitan Club, Washington D.C.
It gives me great pleasure and joy to stand before you tonight at this reception honouring our presence herein your city. I am particularly overjoyed to see the Members of the Friends of Zambia Association, whom I met in Zambia not so long ago.
As I said in Zambia when we last met, and as you have rightly pointed out, Zambia is a country of great potential and yet many a Zambian citizen are faced with immense economic challenges. We in government are fully cognizant of these challenges and therefore decided that after forty years of Independence, it is time we turned potential into economic boom.
In that regard, Madam chairperson, we have embarked on economic policies that put the Zambian human resource at the center of our policies. This includes fighting all the vices that degrade the human resource such as hunger, HIV/AIDS, poverty, corruption, disease, illiteracy and all forms of discrimination.
As you saw or yourselves and heard from various speakers at the seminars you held at the Intercontinental Hotel, the policies for economic development are in place. We are therefore encouraging you, our friends, to help us by acting as catalytic converters of our human and material resources. We welcome the forthcoming visit by your members, drawn from the business community.
Your forthcoming visit could not have come at a more opportune time, as we will be celebrating a number of milestones in our country's history shortly after.
First and foremost, in a month's time from today, Zambia will be celebrating forty years of independence. That date will kick start a number of other anniversaries and celebrations. In February of 2005, we will be hosting the Third African Peace Conference, whose climax will be the honouring of the 100th birthday of former United Nations Secretary-General, Dar Hammarskjöld, who died in a tragic plane crash in Ndola while on a peace mission.
It will also be Zambia's pleasure to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city of Livingstone, our tourist capital, and also the first administrative capital of our country. Those of you who have visited Livingstone will no doubt agree with me that Livingstone is indeed the center of adventure and thrill in Africa.
Associated to that, Zambia will be happy to remember the 150th anniversary of Dr. David Livingstone's first glimpse of the world's largest curtain of falling water, which he named the Victoria Falls. To-date, this wonder still lives by its greatness as it maintains its beauty, and as our ancestors aptly named the Mosi-o-Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders. I agree with you Madam Chair that the rainbows at Mosi-o-Tunya are breath-taking.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, it is now my singular honour and privilege to welcome you to join us in the "visit Zambia 2005" celebrations, through which we are proudly show-casing our natural resources including our wildlife, beautiful parks - most of them still in their natural prime - old and new settlements as well as our traditions and customs.
In closing, my challenge to the Members of the Friends of Zambia organization drawn from different professional backgrounds, to each bring a friend to Zambia. Let a doctor bring a fellow doctor, a businessman bring another businessman. Together we will turn the potential into reality.
I thank you all.