PRESIDENT Sata says Zambia’s unemployment problem is a direct result of the poor management of the country’s natural resources.
Mr Sata, who is attending the Rio+20 world conference on climate change and sustainable development here, also said Africa will never develop on handouts but on technology transfer from developed and some developing countries.
He was speaking during a side session on greening the gross domestic product, dubbed Beyond GDP, organised by the head of the United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clark.
Mr Sata said it is sad that a country like Zambia, which is endowed with natural resources, including minerals, water bodies and wildlife, is still suffering from acute unemployment.
“Zambia has only 13 million people, which is the population of some of the cities in the world. But out of those 13 million, it is most unfortunate that a lot of people are unemployed and God will never forgive us for that.[pullquote]You can keep your money, just give us technology because that is what we need to sustain ourselves. No country has ever developed by begging. That is not sustainable. Africa has been begging for a long time and it is time to make a real difference through technology transfer[/pullquote]
“This is so because we have not managed and used our natural resources the way we are supposed to use them, for the benefit of our people,” he said.
President Sata said the well-being of people in general depends largely on how well their countries manage natural resources.He said Zambia has to move fast in promoting sustainable management of its natural resources for the benefit of its citizens.
On technology transfer, the President said this is part of the key to reducing poverty and taking care of the environment across the world.
Mr Sata said Africa does not need aid, in the absence of technology transfer which is known to spur development.
“You can keep your money, just give us technology because that is what we need to sustain ourselves. No country has ever developed by begging. That is not sustainable. Africa has been begging for a long time and it is time to make a real difference through technology transfer,” he told an applauding audience of delegates.
He said global technology transfer would help a great deal in making the world a better place to live in.Mr Sata also said Zambia is greatly inspired by the technology being applied in Brazil, which has helped to enhance the economy of the South American country of 192 million people.
Brazil is able to make fuel from sugar cane and soya and has been managing its energy sector by finding alternative sources of energy.
“That is great technology, bring it to Zambia. We need technology transfer from the North to the South and West to East, for a better world,” he said.
The President also extended an invitation to delegates to attend the United Nations World Tourism Conference which will be co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe in August next year.
“Come to Zambia and see what we have. We will waive some visa requirements and give you a visa on arrival,” he said.
Mr Sata peppered his speech with his usual sense of humour.
“We have enough water for everyone, including the Greeks and Italians. We have wild animals and there is a lot more to see. The only thing we do not have in abundance is whisky and that is because whisky pollutes the environment,” he said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt said she is proud of her country’s contribution to a greener world and Denmark would continue on that path.
She said Denmark runs an energy-efficient economy and no effort would be spared to make more positive decisions for the greater good.
“Inaction can be costly. We have to make good decisions now,” she said with reference to making a deliberate effort to create a world free of pollution and general environmental degradation.
President Sata is today expected to address the conference.