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Zambian first lady says empowering
rural women vital to ending poverty 

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s First Lady Esther Lungu said Wednesday that ending poverty in developing countries will depend on the attention to rural women.

The first lady said rural women were the primary agents of change in the fight against hunger and poverty in their communities hence the need to empower them.

“In the developing world, rural agriculture is the sustenance of the majority of people, in particular women,” she said at a side meeting of the 61st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) in New York.

“We all agree that extreme poverty manifests mostly in rural areas of developing countries where statistics indicate that on average, women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor force and contribute 70 percent of labor,” she said.

According to a statement released by the Zambian Permanent Mission at the UN, the first lady expressed concern that climate change effects such as droughts and flooding were affecting women and destroying their only investment—crops.

This, she said, forces the women to seek employment from emergent and large-scale farmers where they face exposure to chemicals, working long hours and unstable incomes.

She pledged to continue with her advocacy of tackling social-cultural norms, attitudes and behaviors that needed to be eliminated to tackle gender inequalities in rural areas.

The Commission on the Status of Women opened Monday at the UN headquarters and will run up to March 24.



Zambia’s ruling party says no friction among senior members

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s ruling party on Wednesday tried to diffuse reports of friction among senior officials, saying there was no confusion in the party.

Reports have emerged that some senior members of the Patriotic Front (PF) are calling for the dismissal of the secretary-general Davies Mwila while other senior party officials have publicly clashed in the media.

Mumbi Phiri, the party’s deputy secretary-general, said the top leadership was united and that the confusion was just a matter of perception.

“The confusion the people are talking about we do not see it. I do not see it. I am at the secretariat everyday and people are in harmony,” she told reporters during a press briefing.

The party, she said, was currently united, adding that all senior members were “standing together”.

She further said the party’s secretary-general had the support of all members and the top leadership.

The PF, formed by late President Michael Sata in 2001, has been in power in Zambia since 2011.


Zambian leader pledges to support Under 20
soccer team prepare for World Cup finals

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday pledged his government’s commitment to support the Under 20 national soccer team in its preparation for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup tournament.

The team is among four countries that will represent Africa at the World Cup to be hosted by South Korea in May.

Speaking when he hosted a luncheon for the team which won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Under-20 tournamen, the Zambian leader said he will not tolerate stories of lack of money for the team to prepare adequately for the world junior soccer showpiece.

“Let me take this opportunity to appeal to all stakeholders to support our champions in their World Cup preparations and during the tournament itself. I will support you so others should promise openly that they will support you. Don’t tell me that the government is broke,”  he said.

The Zambian leader lauded the team for its victory, saying the win has brought smiles and pride to every citizen and reminded the world that the country was still a football power house in Africa.

Zambia has been placed in Group C alongside Portugal, Costa Rica and Iran during draws conducted in Seoul on Wednesday.

Zambia will be appearing for the third time at the World Youth Soccer Championship. .



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