President Edgar Lungu, and his PF government, should promptly develop a “Plan B” strategy to confront the reality of Donald Trump’s “America First” plans failure to which the country may suffer grave consequences.
The United States assistance, which is estimated at US$ 250million per year, focuses on improving health with a particular focus on women and vulnerable children; reducing the incidence and impact of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses; increasing agriculture-led economic development to reduce rural poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition; mitigating climate change and wildlife trafficking; raising education quality and learner reading performance; and advancing civil society, governance, and human rights. The US also supports government’s efforts to root out corruption.
Zambia is a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and a variety of technical assistance and other support that is managed by the Department of State, US Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies. The bulk of US assistance to Zambia is provided through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In addition to supporting development projects, the United States provides considerable emergency food aid during periods of drought and flooding through the World Food Programme (WFP) and is a major contributor to refugee programs in Zambia through the UN Commission for Refugees. Recently, the United States, through USAID, partnered with the Zambian Government and the International Finance Corporation in the Scaling Solar project, the goal of which is to construct the first two 50-megawatt Scaling Solar generation sites in Zambia.
Trump’s “America First” rhetoric around protectionism and his plans on immigration, aid, trade and taxation must be taken seriously by every country in the world, including Zambia.
There is likely to be a big shift. The policy shift will not only affect Mexico but for every country in the world, more so sub-Saharan countries like Zambia which are US aid-dependent.
We have a US administration which is pursuing an approach which looks like it will be different from any preceding administrations in our lifetime. Most countries in the world, including Britain, China, Mexico, including the economic blocs like the EU are already shuffling their strategists and policy makers to adapt to Trump’s policy shift.
Similarly, the Zambian government needs to urgently seek strategies to ensure continuity of programmes to be affected by policies of Trump’s administration. Otherwise, most programmes currently supported by the US Government may come to an abrupt end if government does not come up with a “Plan B” for continuity.