Biden picks Nigerian American Enoh T. Ebong to lead presidential delegation for Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration in Zambia

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced on Saturday that Ms. Enoh T. Ebong, Acting Director of the United States Trade and Development Agency, will lead a presidential delegation to attend the inauguration of Hakainde Hichilema on August 24, 2021, in Lusaka, Zambia.

Other members of the delegation include Mr. David J. Young, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, U.S. Embassy Lusaka; and Ms. Dana L. Banks, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa.

Mr. David J. Young, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, U.S. Embassy Lusaka 
Mr. David J. Young, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, U.S. Embassy Lusaka

President Biden appointed Ms. Ebong to serve as the Acting Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency last February, bringing her back to the USTDA where from 2004 to 2019, she had served in a variety of roles, most recently as the Agency’s General Counsel, and Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer. 

President Joe Biden arrives to delivers remarks to essential and frontline workers and military families attending the Fourth of July celebration, Sunday, July 4, 2021, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Katie Ricks) 
President Joe Biden arrives to delivers remarks to essential and frontline workers and military families attending the Fourth of July celebration, Sunday, July 4, 2021, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Katie Ricks)

“As Acting Director, Ms. Ebong leads an agency that partners with the U.S. private sector to develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in emerging economies, while supporting U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services,” USTDA says on its website.

Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Dana L. Banks 
Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Dana L. Banks

Prior to her return to USTDA, Ms. Ebong served as the Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream, where she drove the development of strategic partnerships to expand access to education, health, financial empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Before joining USTDA in 2004, Ms. Ebong practiced law at the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. representing public and private companies in offerings, financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance issues.

Ms. Ebong earned her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, a Master of Arts in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in History, with honors, from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She is a member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Bar.

U.S. supports democracy in Zambia

The Biden administration said last Monday that it looks forward to working with Zambia’s President-elect Hakainde Hichilema who unseated President Edgar Lungu, according to election results released on Monday.

“The United States congratulates President-elect Hakainde Hichilema on his victory in the August 12 general elections. We congratulate the people of Zambia for exercising their right to vote in historic numbers and welcome commitments from all parties to a peaceful and orderly transition,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement. “We look forward to working together with the Zambian government to advance our mutual interests and deepen the friendship between our two nations.”

Hakainde Hichilema speaking at his home in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, on Wednesday. His victory was seen as a resounding rebuke of his rival’s shepherding of an economy that was in tatters.Credit...Patrick Meinhardt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 
Hakainde Hichilema speaking at his home in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, on Wednesday. His victory was seen as a resounding rebuke of his rival’s shepherding of an economy that was in tatters.Credit…Patrick Meinhardt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The U.S. government added that “these polls are a tribute to the democratic ideals upon which the country was founded and an inspiration for the democratic aspirations of people around the world.”

“The United States reaffirms its strong partnership with Zambia and the Zambian people,” the statement added.

Hichilema, the leader of Zambia’s main opposition party, captured 2.8 million votes to defeat President Lungu who received 1.8 million votes, according to the election results. Lungu had governed the southern African nation since 2015.

59-year-old Hichilema, a businessman and the candidate of the United Party for National Development, had lost five previous bids for the presidency, but was lucky on his sixth attempt

He benefited from an economy that was in a mess due to Lungu’s bad policies, the devastating impact from the coronavirus pandemic, rising debt, skyrocketing unemployment numbers and increasing food prices.

Opposition and human rights organizations had also warned that human rights abuses were spreading in Zambia under Lungu and democracy was under attack.

President Joe Biden poses for photos as he arrives and is greeted by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith) 
President Joe Biden poses for photos as he arrives and is greeted by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

Last June, Amnesty International’s campaigner for Southern Africa Vongai Chikwanda told Today News Africa‘s Kristi Pelzel in an interview that human rights violations were intensifying scarily in Zambia under President Edgar Lungu.

Chikwanda said there had been a rise in impunity, including unlawful killings, illegal and prolonged detentions of opposition figures and supporters and a ban on protests and public gatherings since Lungu came to power in 2016.

Edgar Lungu 
Edgar Lungu

“For many years we have seen that Zambia was a haven for peace, but in recent times, things have gotten worse,” Chikwanda said. “Opposition parties are not allowed to assemble and protests are not allowed, and people are spending longer times in detention.”

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