Sunday, July 21, 2024

Diplomacy: Zambia’s Resilience, Story of The Bad Good and Ugly

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Anthony Mukwita

…Good news from Africa

By Anthony Mukwita

Recently, I read an article in the widely followed and hugely respected Time magazine discussing what it called Good News from Africa.

As a writer and a student of a progressive Africa, I found the article to be a fresh breath of literature compared to the bad news of graft, disease and conflict that so often dominates the western media. Countries like our own Zambia has been victim of the peddlers of bad news but the narrative is ostensibly changing and the negative stereotypes fading.

The Time’s article because perhaps my Master’s degree thesis entitled: The perception of Africa in the Western Media: The Zambian Case Study interested me a lot.

My thesis may have been penned a long time ago but my argument that most of the negative things that occur in Africa equally occur in the western world remains valid.

The difference in my argument was, still is; the western media has a stronger and wider influence than the African media, hence the negative stereotypes stick like a tick on Africa than it does on the West.

That is why when I saw Good News from Africa, I was greatly refreshed with the well-researched information, encouraging facts and statistics to back the Good News story.

POPULATION ADVANTAGE

Many African countries including Zambia today have promising demographics says Time, these demographics mean Africa will account for more than half the youthful population by 2050.

This increased population fact is a plus because Africa will account for more than half the world’s population growth by 2050.

By 2100, Africa’s population will have quadrupled relative to today as much of the developed world’s workforce will be shrinking, Africa’s will be expanding meaning countries like Zambia will be ripe ground for skills and labour hunters in the ever-expanding economic world, says Time.

The research also shows that urbanisation rates for African countries such as Zambia currently at about 37 percent, is comparable only to China’s and larger than India’s, which is good because huge population means a bigger market and bigger demand. Especially if it is put into productive use.

So for instance if a Zambian musician of for instance JK’s fame produces a record, he would become an instant millionaire if a million Zambians bought his record at only K1 compared to selling say 10,000 records at current low population levels.

RISING MIDDLE CLASS

Even though the Bible says the poor shall always be among us, Africa Development Bank studies show that in Zambia and other African countries, has an increasing middle class of people.

These people can now be spending between $4 and $20 a day and by 2060, more than a billion Africans are expected to join this growing middle class and Zambia is in tow according to statistic.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Stability on the continent is ever on the rise according to studies since the end of the cold war with the number of armed conflicts falling from a scary more than thirty to about a dozen currently.

ZAMBIA CASE STUDY

Having given the glowing continental picture, I am drawn back to the motherland—Zambia where the situation according to local and international pundits is equally shining.

My best example is a recent article by the all authoritative Bloomberg News entitled: Copper Trumps Politics as Investors Take Shine to Zambian Assets.

In this informative and uplifting article, Bloomberg News states that despite the negative perceptions some so called Think Tanks have been trying to portray about Zambia and indeed a heightened attack on President Edgar Lungu, the economy has remained resilient and is defying the odds.

“Investors are overlooking Zambia’s political risk and buying the nation’s assets as the price of copper, its biggest export, rises. The southern African nation’s currency has appreciated 12 percent against the dollar in 2017, making the kwacha the continent’s best performer after Mozambique’s metical. Copper prices are at their highest in more than two years,” the article goes on.

The above read side by side with last week’s major economic update by Finance Minister Mr Felix Mutati piles up the good news that Zambia’s sponsored protagonists do not want to hear.

They want to give the proverbial dog a bad name and then kill it but it seems to be blowing back in their faces as the southern African countries economic resilience continues to grow under the strong stewardship of President Lungu.
Investors continue to beat a path to Zambia and if Minister Mutati’s stats are anything to fall back on, Zambia’s shine may rise further if we hold tight and shame the doom Sayers.

What Minister Felix Mutati’s stats below telling us:

Zambia’s projected economic growth rate of 4.3 percent for 2017 remains feasible.

This is pushed by observed growth in the major sectors of agriculture, mining, construction, transport and storage, and the wholesale and retail trade.

Increased electricity generation will also contribute to this positive perspective and, hopefully, support growth in other sectors of the Zambian economy.

Budget deficit for 2017 will be maintained at budgeted levels of round 7 percent.

The inflation rate as at end June 2017 was 6.8 % [Six-Point-Eight-Percent] down from 7.5% [Seven-Point-Five-Percent] in December 2016. This reflected stability in most food items and in the Kwacha against major currencies.

As at end June 2017 the exchange rate of the Kwacha per US dollar was K9.25.
The adage is that numbers do not lie and in my view this positive story of Zambia’s steady path to growth must be encouraged and repeated as much as possible in our economic diplomacy and local discourse.

Good news will eventually drown out the negative story being peddled by mercenaries at a huge expense in international media through advertorials as they push their own business interest agenda.

This because it is always dark before the sun rises but Zambians have an opportunity to tell their own good story instead of feeding on negativity because as we all know, there is no such thing as a perfect country.

The great Zambian story must be retold as we look at the glass as half full and not half empty.

The author, Mr Anthony Mukwita is the Charge d’ Affaires at the embassy of Zambia in Sweden. He holds a Master’s degree in Professional Communications and has interest in Economic Diplomacy.

16 COMMENTS

    • Such a compromised character! Even when the position of Ambassador to Sweden opened up, he was not considered but he keeps bootlicking. So much dust and polish in the mouth.

  1. Commenting on this article only gives it the credence it doesn’t deserve, and I am ashamed I doing so. You say numbers don’t lie when it suits you and when it doesn’t its fake. Afro-barometer gave its report on the perception of Zambia’s democracy and PF came out guns blazing how fake it is and sponsored by “Mercenaries” … we now have new Terminologies being used by the PF leaders and their caders such as yourself anthony … neo-colonialists, neo-imperialists sponsored guns etc. Terminologies borrowed from your leaders idol, Mugabe.

  2. ‘My best example is a recent article by the all authoritative Bloomberg News entitled: Copper Trumps Politics as Investors Take Shine to Zambian Assets.’….
    You spoke in a derogatory manner about Bloomberg when they reported about downsizing our credit rating and today you speak highly of them??
    What about the $33 billion debt Mutati is trying to conceal and his See-Saw comments that we do not need an IMF bailout whilst at night he is negotiating with them?
    Rubbish Vuvuzela!
    Leave your diplomatic post and come to join politics with your unfinished court cases Mukwita.

  3. Only Chinese and Indians are coming foward in Zambia as a way of getting rid of their criminals and unemployed by dumping them in Zambia……can mwitwa tell us how many investors from Sweden have come to Zambia. ???

  4. Ask Mukwita if he holds a Bachelor’s Degree. The answer is no. Why? Kukonda ma shortcuts. Even ulupala on the head it was a shorcut.

  5. A true Zambian that sees through a maze of “PHDs” Pull Him Downs! We are our own enemies in Africa! At least most of the time and we give ammunition to other outside forces to kill us! We always see darkness and fail to see a little light even when it is showing! Mr. Anthony, thank you for great journalism of hope!

  6. As always the same tribe has ganged up against the writer! You cannot please them! They want to sell Zambia! Please don’t allow them! Privatization was enough!

  7. its those who are hiding something that are coming up with fake stories a true zambian KNOWS better, i think the saying the truth shall shame the DEVIL still stands. peace and love to ALL. big luke

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