UPND President Hakainde Hichilema is in South Africa this week to address a number of forums, including members of the Zambian diaspora and business community in Johannesburg, investors at the 2016 Mining Indaba and the Graduate Business School at the University of Cape Town as part of their Distinguished Speakers Programme.
The focus of discussions will be on the strong economic potential in Zambia and Southern Africa more broadly, as well as how current challenges facing the region can be overcome. In particular the UPND leader will be explaining what action can and should be taken by Government to address major domestic risk areas that include those identified by the World Bank in its 2016 Zambia Economic Brief, namely a worsening power sector crisis, deterioration in confidence, and another low harvest. Mr Hichilema will attempt to explain how Zambia can bounce back with the right leadership.
As he has argued at home, Mr. Hichilema will reiterate that as a sovereign nation Zambia can also control how it plans and reacts to changes in the external environment, whether it relates to weather or commodity prices, and that Governments must give no excuses but devise ways and means of shoring the external factors which affect every country that has an economy that is structured like ours that exports one commodity.
He will continue to encourage business that his vision if elected President is to improve the business environment and reduce the costs for companies by cutting red tape and streamlining processes in order to boost economic activity, create jobs and reduce prices that have been sky rocketing as inflation reached more than 20% in December 2015 from 7.7% a year ago. Mr. Hichilema will also argue for the need to cut waste and boost efficiency at the heart of Government, in support of calls by the World Bank and others for Zambia to move ‘back onto a sustainable fiscal path’. Alongside this, the UPND leader will argue that Zambia cannot afford to continue to underinvest in education.
As interest mounts ahead of the upcoming elections on 11 August, Mr. Hichilema will also address concerns regarding the path towards elections. He will talk about the challenges opposition parties are facing which include application of the Public Order Act, access to public media and the accompanying censorship. He will also explain how the UPND and other opposition parties are actively working to engage the Electoral Commission of Zambia on these and various other issues such as transparency and finalisation of the electoral register. Mr. Hichilema is also scheduled to speak with a variety of international media and share his vision for Zambia once elected into office.