Addis Ababa, 17 June 2021 (ECA) - The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) mourns the loss of former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda who died on June 17, 2021 in Lusaka. He was an African visionary, an advisor and a unifier.
“We are united with Africa and the global community in mourning President Kaunda and send our condolences to his family and the people of Zambia on the loss of this illustrious leader and advocate,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe.
Ms. Songwe said President Kaunda was “imbued with fortitude to follow through his convictions in that Africa can and will drive its own development trajectory, a belief that underpins the ECA mission for an empowered and transformed Africa.”
President Kaunda was a friend of the ECA and we take pride in his unshakable belief in the politics of the possible. He spoke at the ECA African Development Forum (ADF) in 2000 and later became a patron of the UN Secretary General’s Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHAGA).
CHAGA was an ECA initiative launched in 2003 to help governments in consolidating the design and implementation of policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS as well as clarifying that data on the impact of HIV/AIDS on national structures and economic development.
President Kaunda galvanised global action and mobilised African leadership response to AIDS, a feat that saw him being given the Leadership Award by UNAIDS in 2018. We pay tribute to his leadership.
In remembering President Kaunda, we are reminded of a quote attributed to the Malian writer and anthologist, Amadou Hampa, who aptly said, “Whenever an elder dies, a library burns down”.
An African library has burned down with the loss of this political and development icon of the twentieth century. President Kaunda was an eclectic elder statesman, deftly comfortable in the political struggle for the emancipation of Zambia and many African states and took the cudgels for economic independence, human rights and global peace.
He was one of the last surviving founding members of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union (AU). We are emboldened by his boldness in the struggle for political and economic emancipation.
President Kaunda bequeaths Africa a legacy of taking action, an attribute ECA upholds in promoting the economic and social development of the African continent.
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