Zambia to assume presidency of global consumer protection body

Zambia will take over the presidency of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) with effect from July 1, a senior official said.

Chilufya Sampa, Executive Director of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), said the country will assume the presidency from 2018 to 2019 and takes over from Turkey which assumed the presidency last year.

The official, who is leading a four-member delegation to the ICPEN High-Level Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, said during its presidency, Zambia's agenda will be to bridge the gap between the developed and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to ensure that the organisation becomes relevant to all members.

Although Zambia was the first African country in the 26 years of ICPEN's existence to hold the presidency, it will not only be focused on the country alone but on the entire African continent, he added.

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 Africa and Southern African Development Community so that we can facilitate more African countries' participation," he said, according to a statement released by the Zambian embassy in Turkey.

During its presidency, he said Zambia would place emphasis on the financial sector to ensure that more people were 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," he added.

Bwalya Nondo, Charge d'affaires at the embassy described the country's ascendancy to the ICPEN presidency as a milestone for the country which will showcase its acumen in providing leadership in ensuring fair economic practices at international level.

He said the abuse of dominant market power, anti-competitive activities and other acts that eroded consumers rights and welfare, especially in Africa, were an economic menace which should be fought at all levels through networking.

He further urged the international consumer protection body to tighten measures to ensure that African countries were not used as dumping grounds of consumer protection laws.

ICPEN is an international network of 64 countries, which collaborate and cooperate in enforcement of consumer protection laws.

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