By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member
The recent invitation of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), to speak at the Woodrow Wilson Center and address an audience of esteemed leaders from the world of politics and business, is a clear demonstration of the confidence and the highest premium the international community continues to place on his ability to provide leadership at the highest level of government.
The invitation of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema also underlines the desire by the international community for there to take place constructive and productive political and economic change in Zambia, the kind of change that would benefit both the citizens of this country, as well as our international partners.
It is also important to note, that serious investors will always put a heavy premium on sound political leadership that guarantees adherence to the rule of law, consistency around macro economic policy, guarantees a respect for human rights and leadership that is committed to stamping out grand and political corruption as these pose and impose a danger on the credibility and integrity of the investment environment.
The $25bn in active investment pledges are a further unequivocal endorsement of the quality and standard of public leadership the International community expects Mr. Hakainde Hichilema to enforce should Zambians trust his enough to form and lead the next government post 2021.
These $25bn investment conversations should in essence be taking between investors and the PF government of PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu, but that is not the case. And I do not want to leave Zambians in any amount of doubt about why this is not the case – Investors cannot and will not trust their big money projects with the PF government. It will cost investors anything between 10% – 25% on top of the actual investment value to invest in Zambia, owing to corruption and bad business environment managing practices being perpetrated by the PF government.
But what is heartwarming to note, is that Mr. Hakainde Hichilema emphasized to our international friends that while Zambia remains open for business, we seek constructive and actual business partnerships between our local and international investors.
We cannot build long-term resilience within our local economy by settling for 20%.
We need investment partnerships that will substantively enhance capacity and confidence within our local investor community. This is why the UPND is keen to reinvigorate the capacity of our local banking system to fully respond to this strategy by reposition the balance of resources away from government control and much towards individuals, households and SMEs.
As citizens, we must never underplay the value of sound political LEADERSHIP.
Everything rises and falls on it.
Future opportunities for the next generation of Zambians firmly rest on what we will do at the ballot in 2021.