By Hon Davies Mwila
While certain quarters have made it a full time vocation to spread messages of doom and gloom and spread negative sentiments about our country, the reality is that while we could definitely improve in certain areas and we may have some hiccups here and there, Zambia’s outlook is definitely positive.
CNN LISTS LUSAKA AS ONE OF AFRICA’S FOUR MUST-VISIT-DESTINATIONS
Cable News Network (CNN) the American based television news channel has listed Lusaka as among the destinations American and other international tourist need to visit.
In an article entitled “Four Africa city destinations you should visit right now” written by Bert Archer and published on the CNN website on 17th May 2019, Zambia is described as “having the world’s fastest-improving economy” (according to the World Bank) and one of the friendliest countries on the continent as it lists a number of tourist sites in the capital, including First President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s house in Chilenje.
The three other African destinations recommended by CNN as the best African cities to visit are Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar in Senegal.
AfDB SAYS ZAMBIA IS ONE OF THE BEST PERFORMING PORTFOLIOS
It is not just CNN that has been attracted to the many positives of Zambia.
Dr Kapil Kapoor,the Director General, Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office, of the African Development Bank (AfDB)was recently in the country to hold bilateral talks. During his visit, Dr, Kapoor said the AFDB is pleased with how Zambia is implementing its funded projects adding that the USD1Billion investment Project portfolio being implemented by Zambia is impressive.
Dr Kapoor said “The AfDB funded projects are spread across a variety of various sectors and they are mostly dominated by infrastructure, so it is largely Transport, Energy ,Agriculture, and it’s a portfolio that’s actually doing very well”.
The AfDB executive went on to reveal that “The Zambian portfolio is actually one of the best performing portfolios across the bank”.
“Sometimes there is a lot of attention that is paid to new money that comes, but actually, if you look at what’s really important, it is how the country is implementing the projects and programmes it has already received. And so I’m pleased to report that Zambia is doing very well in this regard” Dr Kapoor said.
While all the 24 AfDB funded projects that have been established in Zambia in various sectors across the country, including Agriculture, Education, Water Supply and Sanitation, Infrastructure and Roads and Bridges, Energy, Environmental Protection, climate change, are all important areas, the PF Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to paying a lot more attention to supporting the private sector, in order to accelerate even further growth as we look to transforming Zambia into a middle income country by the year 2030, as per Vision 2030.
Accordingly, AfDB has this year allocated US$700 million to supporting private sector growth in Zambia, aimed at stimulating growth across the entire value chain.
Dr Kapoor’s observations on the PF Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s positive performance and stewardship on the implementation of AfDB funded projects reflects the PF governments passion to improve the ordinary Zambian’s life through infrastructure development.
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT; A PRECURSOR FOR INDUSTRIALISATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Power (energy), transportation (road, rail, air, maritime), portable drinkable water and sanitation – sometimes referred to as “hard” infrastructure – are of paramount importance to the economic growth and development of any country.
This is the reason why the PF government – under the leadership of the late President, His Excellency Mr. Michael C. Sata (MHSRIP) and now under the able leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu – remains resolute to deliver infrastructure development as a means of bringing about inclusive economic growth and development, and improved human wellbeing.
For the Patriotic Front (PF) as per our comprehensive manifesto, infrastructure development is critical in achieving Zambia’s objective of becoming a prosperous middle-income country by the year 2030 as enshrined in the Vision 2030 and other national strategic documents.
A SENIOR BRITISH PARLIAMENTARIAN’S COMMENTS ON ZAMBIA
These efforts have received local and wide international recognition. Fairly recently, British politician Sir Richard ottaway commenting on Prince Harry’s visit to Zambia said:
“Zambia is a country rich in resources, which provides a business-friendly environment, where government and global companies are welcoming the opportunities provided by its market access across southern Africa”.
Sir Ottaway described Zambia under the Patriotic Front Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu:
“A vibrant, democratically stable, environmentally aware nation and one of the main success stories of post colonialism”
As a pro-poor party, the PF government believes that broad-based development and poverty reduction is about – among other things, meeting basic needs such as portable drinkable water, Health Facilities, Educational Institutions, food, as well as decent and affordable shelter and sanitary services. This is critical in order to bring about smart and sustainable urban development for a Zambia without slums. The PF is leading the delivery of these mega “human-centred” development programmes through public and private channels such as the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
By the time the L400 project aimed at expanding and upgrading some Lusaka roads to bituminous standard is concluded; and by the time the US$389 million Lusaka Decongestion Project (LDP) aimed at decongesting the city by building and expanding roads, fly-over bridges and overpasses, is commissioned around 2020, Lusaka will not only be one of the must-visit cities in Africa but in the world.
By the time all the AfDB projects and other bilateral, multilateral and government initiated infrastructure projects are concluded; and by the time the current PF driven Economic stimulus package for the Copperbelt is in full swing, Zambia will be a country that will be highly industrialised and diversified, and the standard of living and quality of life for the ordinary Zambian will be better than it has ever been.
It has been said ordinary politicians only plan for the next election; while statesmen cater not only for the current generation, but they plan for future generations as well.
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a Statesman; The Patriotic Front will not be swayed by myopic politicians only focussed on winning the next election by spreading negative sentiments.
It shall be well: It is well.
The Author is Patriotic Front Secretary General