Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has noted that Zambia’s dependence on external aid has reduced considerably to less than five per cent of the country’s budget and insignificant as a percentage of the nation’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Chikwanda says Zambia will increasingly rely on recourse to the global financial markets to fill resource gaps which will be significant as the country’s development momentum gathers space.
He states that the external benefactors now feel that the nation should rely more on external trade and investment as an engine of growth than aid with its obvious limitations and which is a short term expedient.
The minister said this in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
Mr Chikwanda noted that since independence, Zambia has received varying degrees of external assistance to support its development endeavours.
He observed that at the turn of the 21st Century, Zambia had an untenable debt overhang which he said exceeded the national’s GDP by far.
The minister, however, noted that a programme with the International Monitory Fund (IMF) which entailed a lot of sacrifice by the Zambian citizens resulted in the country accumulating special drawing rights which cleared the country’s debt stock with the IMF.
Mr Chikwanda indicated that the international donor community and cooperating partners exercised consideration in favour of Zambia by cancelling substantial portions of the debt owed by Zambia.
He explained that it is this process that triggered the high growth rates which the country has seen in recent years as it freed resources for economic growth through increased spending on economic sectors especially for infrastructural development and programmes in the health and education sectors.
Mr Chikwanda added that the international donor community came to Zambia’s rescue because the country epitomises the spirit of human fellowship.
He said the country remains eternally grateful for the assistance rendered by all cooperating partners and will also remain committed to maintenance of fundamental freedoms and good governance as it is part of its development agenda.
Mr Chikwanda stated that when external donors invoke adherence to good governance in their aid packages, they merely endorse the moral benchmarks which the country has set.
He noted that donor countries have responsibilities and are accountable to their tax payers who do not want to see their hard earned money directed to support countries that perpetrate infringements of human rights.