Ankara, Thursday, April 12, 2018– Zambia will assume the presidency of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) with effect from July 1, 2018.
Zambia takes over from Turkey, which has been ICPEN President covering the period 2017 to 2018.
Charge’d’ Affaires at the Zambian Mission in Turkey Bwalya Nondo described Zambia’s accession to the ICPEN presidency as a milestone for Zambia which will showcase the country’s acumen in providing leadership in ensuring fair economic practices at international level.
Mr Nondo noted that abuse of dominant market power, anti-competitive activities and other acts that eroded consumer rights and welfare, especially in Africa, are an economic menace which should be fought at all levels through networking.
“Zambia is an integral part of the global village and cannot afford to lag behind other countries in a constantly evolving consumer protection agenda,” Mr Nondo said.
He also urged ICPEN to tighten measures to ensure that African countries were not used as a dumping ground for counterfeit products.
ICPEN is an international network of 64 countries, which collaborate and co-operate in the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ICPEN high-level conference in Istanbul, Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) Executive Director Chilufya Sampa said Zambia’s presidency will cover the period 2018 to 2019.
“From 2017 to 2018, Turkey has been the President of ICPEN and now we are taking over from 2018 to 2019 and our effective date of takeover is July 1, 2018,” he said.
Mr Sampa who is leading a four-member delegation to the conference said during Zambia’s presidency, the agenda will be to bridge the gap between developed and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to ensure that ICPEN becomes relevant to both.
He said although Zambia was the first African country in the 26 years of ICPEN’s existence to hold the presidency, it will not will not only be focused on the country alone but on the entire African continent.
Currently, only five African countries namely, Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia are members of ICPEN.
“We would like to see to it that we expand and have more African countries participate. We have reached out through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African Development Community so that we can facilitate more African countries’ participation.
“Our message to them is that you cannot set the agenda if you are not part of the network. The concern that they have is that they don’t see the relevance of the network but the world is moving and waits for no one” Mr Sampa said.
He further explained that emphasis would be placed on the financial sector to ensure that more people are financially included and bring to an end unfair trading practices against consumers in the sector.
“We will also be looking at issues of E-Commerce, online retail and online education services. Most of the services we are using in developing countries are generated from developed countries hence the reason to be part of the network, which encourages cooperation and collaboration among consumer protection agencies” Mr Sampa said.
He added that CCPC plans to host a best practices workshop scheduled for November in Lusaka and an annual conference in April 2019 in Livingstone.
ICPEN operates under a rotating presidency, currently held by Turkey’s Ministry of Trade and Customs, Directorate General for Consumer Protection and Market Surveillance, for a period of twelve months.
Others in the delegation are CCPC Director for Consumer Protection Brian Lingela, Chief Investigator Eunice Hamawa and Public Health Officer, Twaambo Chuula.
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