“Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?”
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Alba Iulia
Sunday, May 2, 2021

Message to South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Columns Message to South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

By Edward Chisanga

The Lusaka Times of 27 April 2021 published an article entitled, “The recent comments from South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni that the Zambian economy will not register any meaningful growth this year due to poor economic policies has upset the Zambian government.” While the intention of this commentary is not to dwell on the growth or not of the Zambian economy and to prove or not whether Mr. Mboweni’s statement is correct or not, I simply share with readers the performance of the South African economy, in particular its trend of growth, using GDP and GDP per capita growths, since independence from Apartheid.

I’m no economist and I don’t claim to be. I’m simply an international and regional trade expert who has worked with the United Nations for fifteen years helping African countries, among other developing countries to improve their integration in the global economy. In my career, I use economic and trade statistics almost each day to help countries that we support understand how their countries are performing. South Africa is not an exception.

When I read the article about South Africa’s Minister of Finance’s remarks about Zambia’s economic growth, and the Zambian news of 7pm the same day, I was struck by one of Jesus’ parables, when He said, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” I think it is a similar saying to, ‘Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.’

The South African economy may be more humongous in size than Zambia’s and indeed, any other African countries. But its growth over the years presents a mixed picture that basically follows similar patterns of squeaks and groans as other African economies’. Mr. Mboweni should have broached the sensitive topic he is now bringing to light about our country during the period 1999-2007 when South Africa’s economy was exhibiting spectacular growth, from for example 2.4% to 5.6% shown in Figure 1 below for GDP.

Problem is that he punctures Zambian’s mood of optimism when his own country’s economy, for which he is the driver is facing acute growth challenges perhaps worse than ours, given South Africa’s GDP size is about fifteen-fold that of Zambia and a population equally larger. As can be seen in the image, GDP growth for the period 2010-2019 shrank appallingly from 3.0 to 0.2%.

South Africa GDP annual average growth rate in %

On the other hand, GDP per capita at $6,000 is about sixfold larger than Zambia’s. While experiencing the highest growth peak that reached 4.3% in 2006 shown in Figure 2 below, and a road to external bliss, when the ‘speck in the brother’s eye’ would have been Zambia’s to take care of, the period from then to 2019 saw extreme growth oscillation of the economic pendulum between one extreme and another.

The worst came in 2019 when GDP per capita growth surrendered to the level of minus 1.2%. And, the presence of Covid19 only makes the situation worse and ignites a sense of hopelessness that the economy will not get back to its 2007 growth level soon.

South Africa’s annual average growth rate per capita in %
South Africa’s annual average growth rate per capita in %

Clearly, the statistics shown in the foregoing do not exempt the South African Finance Minister from the blame that he is pilling on his Zambian counterpart and government. He has, as much a job to do as his counterpart to make the economy serve its people, in particular the majority poor Africans in South Africa. “For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

23 COMMENTS

  1. This Mboweni is a hired gun by Under 5 to scandalize Zambia for his own futile benefits. No wonder he makes frequent visits to SA and fronts himself on SABC TV to spout nonsense.

    Takatekepo

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  2. Truthful analysis.
    I wondered why the man has such an obsession. He could have looked at the statistics honestly and present them without a ring of “holier than thou”. Besides, Zambia contributes a huge amount to the South African economy.

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  3. These graphs are just the same. Our politicians should also learn to talk normally. It can be shown that SA’s economy is not much better than ours using empirical explanations (using figures) without resorting to tantrums about diplomatic fallout and insinuating that there is something wrong with the person Tito. Too much immature talk.

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  4. I don’t know why some people support blindly when those who are seeing exactly what is happening in your economy.This country defaulted for the first time since independence because of substandard performance by the people you’re supporting and moreover its a log in your own eye not your friend’s but they are just giving you heads up………stop politicking each time people try to awaken you from your cadres bondage.

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  5. The Author is of educated Zambians who have failed our country. Diplomacy aside, did Mboweni lie? Copper price is now at one of its highest pick but we are not seeing any benefits. Can this educated moron explain the reason

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  6. I think this Tito guy wanted Zambia to continue being a province of South Africa. Remember that Zambia used to import biscuits, milk, flour, chickens, vegetable, drinks, fish, pork, beef, washing powder, soap etc from his country just recently but now wala! He wishes that the status quo had remained.

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  7. Comparison should be on the same page. So if South Africa is saying Zambia is doing very bad economically what is happening in South Africa, is it doing well than us?
    There are more blacks in SA who very I mean very much poorer and suffering than us in Zambia.
    I stay in SA and I know what am talking about.

    25
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  8. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU TALIKING ABOUT !!!
    IF ITS SO BAD COME BACK TO ZAMBIA F00L
    SA WAS SEVERELY L00TED BY STATE CAPTURE AND THEY DOING THEIR BEST TO RECOVER AND SA IS NOTHING LIKE ZAMBIA IN ANY WAY AT ALL
    I ALSO SPEND MOST OF MY TIME THERE AND I TOO KNOW !!!
    ZAMBIA WHEN THE PEOPLE WAKE UP WILL THEN REALISE THE L00TING THAT HAS GONE ON HERE UNABATED
    AND WE TOO WILL BE IN THE SAME BOAT WITH NO MEANS OF CORRECTING IT!! LIKE SA IS NOW DOING
    ZAMBIA WILL EVENTUALLY IMPLODE WITH THE PF

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  9. Yes, he is also shocked that we have stopped importing bananas, oranges, cooking oil and grapes from RSA. Very soon, the Zambian market will be flooded with Apples produced from Chipata. We also won’t give him our Dollars importing electricity from him.

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  10. “The cultural context plays an important role in the decision making process. In societies with high power distance, the superior more often makes decisions without the subordinates’ participation. … People accept the inequalities of power and need no further justification.”

    “planes are safer when the least experienced person is flying, because it means the second pilot isn’t going to be afraid to speak up”

    “combating mitigation has become one of the great crusades in commercial aviation in the past fifteen years.” Crew members are taught how to communicate clearly and assertively with a standardized procedure to challenge the pilot if it appears that he or she has overlooked something critical.” PF time out. Third term is overlooked somethings.

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  11. Tito Mboweni was asked a question on the performance and prospects of the Zambian Economy. His answer was the Prospects are bleak. Asked why he thought so? Tito Mboweni felt that the chances of the Zambian Economy recovering any time soon was zero becoz the Zambian Economy “is incapable hands “. That is Tito Mboweni’ s personal opinion. The issue is the Zambian Economy not in Capable and Competent hands. The Zambian Economy is not doing well due to this incapable and incompetent hands. U can see it at the PF Political Leadership,,Ministry of Finance, BOZ etc. The Zambian Economy is in a mess and the levels Printing of Money recently seen implies that Fiscal and Monetary Policies are poorly managed. Hence Tito Mboweni said the Zambian Economy is “in Capable hands”. The response…

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  12. Why do we even give that f00lish ugly southafrican any attention? He is a ungrateful bab00n who doesn’t have memory to realise that Zambia sacrificed alot for his country to be where it is. He has failed to deal with the whlte and bIack inequalities in his country and he sees it easier to attack us. He is a motherfuker.

    By the way, I have a problem with people who just conclude things without evidence. Just because I said I will always love my wlfe regina, on my faycebook, some ugly bab00ns from upnd are claiming I cheated. Some of us love our wlves and show it to the world. You lack romance in your sad sexless lives. Fuseke

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  13. Tito Mboweni prayed that Zambia’s economy drops further down because President Edgar Lungu “wrongfully” fired the immediate past BOZ governor. Edward Chisanga is trying to make us judge whether Mboweni has helped RSA become an economic giant during his tenure as RSA Reserve Bank governor from 1999 to 2009 as well as that country’s current finance minister.

  14. I understand Tito Mboweni’s excitement. He’s not employed to tackle Zambia’s economy, he’s not answerable to us. However, before 1994 no one ever imagined that kaffir would be a Minister of Finance in RSA, and it took JZ to appoint the 1st kaffir to that position. Mboweni is the 2nd kaffir to hold that position. But then look at how most of our leaders behave, most run to RSA and have properties there. Even a slight headache causes them to rush to RSA for medicals. So Mboweni is right to think that Zambia is like a province and not a sovereign State. Respect is earned not forced. If our leaders change their ways people will respect them. Look at how much respect UNIP still commands in the region and beyond! UNIP leaders had integrity

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  15. This article is angelic in nature as it uses data to argue the point. Without subtracting anything from it, I can textfy that the economy of South Africa has been affected negatively perhaps much more than Zambia over the last 10 years. The only difference is that it is a bigger economy and also a larger number of people wallowing in poverty than those in Zambia. Most poor people in Zambia are more independent than those “, poor” people in South Africa. What Zambia needs to do now is to simply begin to empower its citizens with skills and financial support for small businesses while continuing with infrastructure development. Sooner than later you will see Tito with his suitcase heading North.

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  16. The fact is the Zambian Economy was in better shape in 2011 when PF came Power than now. The successive PF Govt’s have mismanaged the Economy and People are now worse off than they were in 2011. The poor performance of the Zambian Economy is attributed to Corruption, Incompetence and “incapable hands”. Tito Mboweni’s perception about the Zambian Economy is supported by empirical evidence. The Economy is in a mess and PF which has mismanaged it is incapable of turning it around. Another 5 years of ECL and PF ruinous Rule will be a disaster for Zambians. Corrupt ,incompetent and Visionless ECL will not take Zambians anywhere. The only hope is Team HH who should be given a chance to turnaround the Economy. ECL and PF have miserably failed and must be shown the door on August 12…

  17. Hahaha trying to compare SA to Zambia laughable when most of what you eat is from SA. The malls are full of SA goods and stores please sit down. Tito was pointing out the truth which the party in power likes to deny. PF’s manifesto is full of stuff that they were denying

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  18. The most painful issue for Tito Mboweni is because as Minister of Finance he has seen Zambia cut down imports from South Africa in the last few years by a huge percentage and secondly Zambian companies have displaced South African exports to DR Congo this has hit South Africa deep in the national economy. Thus this bitterness. What he now wants is a Goverment in Zambia that is run by those who believe Zambians cannot manage their economy. A government that will once again inviting South Africans to the mining and manufacturing sector.

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  19. Imwe ba Paya Farmer, just concentrate on the fracas you had today at your Secretariat. Now that UPND wasn’t there, who will you blame for trademark of violence?

    Mboweni is being objective by helping point out your shortcomings; leave him alone.

  20. Are you so desperate for power, that you’d lend credence to a fumbling bafoon like mboweni?? The south Africa economy was declared junk status by Moody’s twice under his watch!! So who is he to talk??? Just because what he says about your own country causes you to have orgasms believing that it favours your preferred candidate?? WALA!!!! Who is he to talk about Zambian economic policy when his own policies are failing his nation? …and you useless Zambian cretins are cheering this colossal fart!!!

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