Zambian President Michael Sata died last night in a London hospital. He was 77. His death comes just days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom.
Zambia’s President Sata has stabilzed the country politically, while creating an open, market-oriented economy, attractive to both local and foreign investors.
He died after “a sudden onset of heightened heart rate.” It is not immediately clear who will succeed the President. The issue may be decided by the Zambian Cabinet which meets on Wednesday morning.
In Zambia, Cabinet Secretary Roland Msika said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing on of our beloved President.”
He has rarely been seen in public since returning from the UN General Assembly last month, where he failed to make a scheduled speech.
Mr. Sata became President in September 2011, defeating the then incumbent Rupiah Banda whose party had been in power for 20 years.
President Sata firmly believed that no country can achieve its aspirations in isolation. Thanks to large mineral revenues and an improved investment climate, an increasing number of companies are tapping into Zambia’s diverse economic sectors. Although copper is obviously the most valuable export, tourism, infrastructure development, and telecommunications provide ample opportunities for international investors.
Today, Zambia boasts a firmly-consolidated democratic political system. As part of his inclusive approach to government since coming to power, Sata even appointed opposition MPs to positions in public office. And compared with many of its neighbors on the continent, its stability and transparency has made the country a reference for good governance in Africa. “I am allergic to corruption,” said Sata.