Zambia has been unanimously elected as the Central Government representative for Southern Africa on the Board of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.
In a statement issued by Chila Namaiko Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, this announcement was made during the ongoing 2023 Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, themed “Building Local Resilience across the Commonwealth.”
Hon. Gary Nkombo, Member of Parliament and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, will serve a second consecutive term on the Board, representing Zambia. The Republic of Eswatini has been nominated as the alternative to Zambia on the Board.
The Commonwealth Local Government Conference is a high-level bi-annual event providing a unique platform for local government ministers, elected leaders, and senior officials from across the Commonwealth to discuss progressive policies for the local government sector.
Expressing his gratitude, Hon. Nkombo highlighted the importance of building the capacities of local authorities to access green finance for climate-resilient infrastructure development and the provision of social services.
In his keynote speech at the conference, he underscored Zambia’s commitment to rural development, citing initiatives such as the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
The Minister explained how the Zambian Government, through the CDF, is promoting decentralization by involving citizens in identifying and implementing projects at the local level.
The fund has been increased from K1.6 million to K28.3 million this year, empowering citizens to define the development agenda for their respective areas.
Hon. Nkombo outlined the prioritization of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) in Zambia, focusing on climate-resilient projects.
He also highlighted the government’s support through the Local Government Equalization Fund, promoting equity among local authorities.
Acknowledging the role of development partners such as the World Bank, the European Union, GIZ, USAID, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Hon. Nkombo emphasized their crucial support in supplementing government efforts for local economic development, climate resilience, and sustainable infrastructure development.
In his appeal to cooperating partners, Hon. Nkombo urged them to continue supporting local authorities in accessing green finance for the implementation of development-oriented programs.
This election positions Zambia as a key player in shaping policies and initiatives within the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, reflecting the country’s commitment to fostering local resilience and sustainable development.