Economist Chibamba Kanyama has urged the Zambian delegation attending the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC to approach the meetings seriously.
Mr Kanyama said the team led by Finance Minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu and his counterpart at Planning Alexander Chiteme should not use the opportunity to be in the USA for shopping.
He said the trip is an opportunity for Dr Ng’andu to demonstrate to those international analysts that doubted his economic credentials that he has the acumen to strike a deal with cooperating partners.
“When such a huge delegation travels for such meetings, a lot is expected in terms of outcomes especially given our current need for a financial bailout. I am confident Dr Ng’andu and his assembled team of technocrats has sufficiently prepared itself with a data-backed narrative that will prove to various international stakeholders that Zambia is this time more than serious to engage the IMF,” Mr Kanyama said.
He added, “A number of economic watchers for Zambia, particularly investors in our sovereign bond, want assurance that the ‘stabilization trajectory’ Zambia has been preaching lately will be more than rhetoric.”
He said the cost of sending this large delegation is significantly huge and coming back empty-handed but for simple assurances is not in the interest of the nation.
“In certain previous engagements, corridor gossip in those institutions during similar meetings was about how huge the Zambian delegation was meeting only one person the other side of the table but without a clear engagement strategy, ‘They had no data whatsoever to back up their narrative, why did they all come here?’ a mission chief once whispered to me.,” Mr Kanyama narrated.
“I have confidence in Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu and am sure he is leading a highly focused team that seeks to redeem Zambia’s economic fortunes.It is simply not business as usual for them. If possible, Dr Ng’andu should divide the team into groups, each team focused on meeting strategic counter-parties so that we do not fill boardrooms with a large number of people who just take notes.“
He said, “ Everyone must possess the necessary collaborated data and articulate the economic stabilization strategy with clearly defined outcomes. We should prove to the IMF that the measures we have taken are not only there to massage negative investor sentiment but that we have the discipline and commitment to implement them.”
“There must never be time for shopping, we have enough malls back home. It sends a bad message to the partners when they see us in embassy vehicles visiting malls just after communicating to them about our commitment to austerity measures. Those little things are always observed and get talked about in those corridors. Come back with something Minister and make a difference. We are here to support you 100 percent in every way we can.”