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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Tackling Unemployment in Zambia Under the New Dawn

Columns Tackling Unemployment in Zambia Under the New Dawn

The reported protests in neighbouring Malawi is a remainder of the world we all live in and the common challenges we face. Addressing unemployment and high cost of living bring stability to countries but governments must be given enough time to address these problems.

Police in Malawi used tear gas Friday to stop demonstrators who were protesting unemployment and the high cost of living and a group of counterdemonstrators.

In Zambia, the new Dawn Administration under President Hakainde Hichilema has taken the first necessary step on measures aimed at addressing unemployment through focusing on entrepreneurship. President Hichilema deserve my commendation for this step.

The creation of the Ministry for SMEs is such a step but the real work now rests with the Ministry itself to become proactive and contribute towards the vision inherent in the creation of such an important Ministry.

The Ministry for SMEs was not created for mere purposes of giving formal jobs to those who worked with Mr Hichilema to secure his victory in 2021. The creator of that Ministry himself understand that without focusing on entrepreneurship, the prospects of changing the lives of our people remain too remote.

Of course, there are hundreds of UPND members, sympathisers, etc waiting for President Bally to give them jobs in Government Ministries, departments, foreign service etc but there are thousands to millions of Zambians waiting for employment opportunities. The challenge the President has to address is for these millions of Zambians than the few cadres.

So far, some other actions by President showed he was prepared to put the interests of Zambians ahead of the few lining up for jobs.

The second preliminary stage towards creating employment must be the change our people’s mindset towards employment. Our society needs to understand that government can only employ as many as it can afford, around a total of 300,000 to 400,000 at the most. This means the focus must be on self employment (entreprenueral) or private sector.

But to be in self employment or private sector requires an environment or policies that support these sectors to thrive. This is where the Ministry for SME must come in to play an important role on policy direction.

Giving free cash handouts to small scale businesses is not and will never be the solution. It has not worked and has proven unsustainable in the agricultural sector and also work youth empowerment funds.

The Ministry for SMEs needs to begin identifying practices and bottlenecks that prevent our entrepreneurs to thrive and small businesses to thrive.

Even with the policy of 20 percent contract award to Zambians the previous regime of Former President Edgar Lungu had introduced, promoting real entrepreneurship in Zambia remains far fetched as we keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Under that 20 percent policy, political cadres who were closely connected to government officials were the ones who got the 20 percent contracts in the name of local Zambian contractors. Most of them were just local contractors in name only while others never had any capacity at all to deliver on contracts.

The real foreign owners of contracts awarded by Government used the so-called local contractors as pons to get more money from government. Foreign businessmen made these political cadres register companies, used these Zambians and their newly registered businesses as guarantors for getting government contracts.

Cadres were only happy with getting the “cool free cash” (commissions) from foreigners who were awarded government contracts. No real capacity was built for these newly Zambian owned companies to stand on their own. The so called local contractors were just a conduit for foreigners to get the contracts.

Post 12th August, 2021, the same foreign companies have a new breed of cadres to position as local contractors. The showy display of huge stacks of cash towards the August 2021, in my view, was not as a result of Government giving those youths money but the cadres who got commissions from foreign companies in the name of being local contractors bidding with foreign owned companies. Meanwhile, real entrepreneurs like Johnson Kondani had their genuine medium scale businesses struggle to survive.

My worry now is that we have seen more political party cadres appointed to position of Permanent Secretaries, in charge of Ministries and its resources. I have less problem with cadres being appointed Deputy Permanent Secretaries and District Commissioners as it has remained a fashion even under the new dawn because under an unwritten rule, appointees to these offices serve for political interests of the appointing authority. But the position of Permanent Secretary, it is always best to appoint career civil servants. Anyway, that is a story for another day.

The Ministry for SMEs has a big task in helping the President and his new dawn administration to avoid what is happening in Malawi. There is need to build a real cadre of entreprenuers who can work for their money, build their businesses. When one entrepreneur succeeds in employing 2 or 5 people, the country gets on the path to reducing unemployment. Most importantly, government must create a conductive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive.

There is not so much in the 2022 budget to promote a thriving entrepreneurial environment. The budget should have given tax breaks and other incentives to small business. This would afford our SMEs to invest money and acquire necessary capital and assets needed to grow their business. It is possible to reduce the unemployment rate in Zambia but Enterprising and entreprenuership is the way to go. Reliance on government to “give the youths” jobs won’t do.

(The author is a governance activist and working around areas of law and policy)


  1. Kikikikiki it has now become speech after speech…..still no sign of youths being employed..theft is on the rise….the youths now have resorted to crime meanwhile Vascodagama HH is all over globetrotting and attending useless gatherings…doing exactly what he Lungu did and even more……4 months in office and not even a single youth has been employed…….soon it will be 5 years of blah blah blah blah blah blah blah loadsheding is in full swing…..

  2. I sympathize with politicians for committing themselves to the almost impossibble. There are more than ten million unemployed youths and who can create employment to create enough opportunity to absorb all these? At the risk of being repetitive, those industries created by Dr Kaunda and his Unip and the back to the land policy were the solutions. But it’s no use crying over what’s passed. And the majority our youth only believe in being employed and not in employing. It’s very easy to stand on an anthill and confidently PROMISE JOBS. But the reality is really frightening.

  3. How did Kaunda create employment? Parastatals !!! The Govenment should use IDC as the engine of Development. Waiting for Private investment will take years. After all , the the privates will be waiting for incentives and more incentives. JUST GO THE KAUNDA WAY!!!!

  4. #5 Kalaba, KK used the money from the mines to create those industries which educated people came to sell (mines and 300 companies). The man had great vision. I’m not a pessimist but I think it’s going to be an uphill battle.

  5. Those who sold mines are now in state house and promised to create the same industry they gave to themselves this is good chickens have come back home to roost.
    The same evil IMF that killed industry and thousands of people is now invited back to kill even more Zambians from stress because of loss of employment .
    Many times we were told to emulated what happened in Malawi and today we are seeing it so it must be with in Zambia.

  6. Even if you are as thick as dogs sh.it……

    How do you expect a 3 month old GRZ to reduce unemployment straightaway ????

    Real , sustainable employment is an ongoing dynamic process ………

    Expect unemployment numbers to start falling drastically after 12 months of the new GRZ……..

    In 3 years we expect the critics and other supporters of the clique to be reduced to road side critics with no audience as people will be too busy making a living…..

  7. Kaunda ERA is gone……MMD Era is gone….Stop crying over spilled beans.
    Zambian population in Kaunda Era was around 5million…..in 2021 you are talking of around 20mil, how can you compare the dynamics and the world is evolving with completely different challenges. HONESTLY, you expect HH to solve the unemployment within 4 months, which his predecessor government never resolved within 10years? Take a minute and think about it.
    Check out Rwanda, two of the main things Paul Kagame used to transform Rwanda, was a mindset shift and the use of SME. Imagine if every Rwandan, waited for Kagame to give them jobs, because they lost relatives during the genocide ????

  8. @Deja Vu. Some companies were in private hands prior to independence. Most of them were nationalized via the Mulungushi and Matero economic reforms around 1970 with the two mining houses in 1972. I agree though that IDC would be the way to create employment. Lets not not forget was a creation of our colonial masters around 1960/61.

  9. Spaka.
    You are not wise how do you call people who voted for you to go into state house dogs, this arrogance will see you down these Zambians trusted you as you promised them and today you turn around and call them dogs,
    People are just asking you to honor what you were poignantly promising them you said immediately, immediately that was the premise that gave you state house and not those insults you are trading on social media.
    Are you proving to Zambians that the president is a crook who cannot be trusted on his words! Mark those words people will not trust you again on your campaigns, I thought you could have apologized that you didn’t know what you were promising Zambians.
    Now you have changed your colors and you have become defensive, defending your incompetence, in…

  10. #11 Eagle Eye.. True but the owners of those companies were compensated … money coming from our resources. Pity KK didn’t train someone to take over from him like Nyerere did.

  11. #12  nshilimubemba
     November 22, 2021 At 11:28 am

    People are just asking you to honor what you were poignantly promising them you said immediately, immediately that was the premise that gave you state house and not those insults you are trading on social media……”

    Those people criticising on SM are supporters of the clique and their tribal supremacists………

    And normal person knows jobs can not be created overnight……….

    What is said in campaigns assumes most things being normal, but things are found to be rotten to the core……….

    Corruption and pilfering are endemic with most people expecting free handouts, high levels of debt and Low productions means most of the campaign promises are not immediate …..

    We a? know those demanding jobs for…

  12. ……the youth are bitter supporters of the clique ……..

    As if a compressive electoral defeat was not enough, money is being diverted directly to the districts …….

    That makes them extra bitter…..

  13. @nshilimubemba ,
    When tackling issues of employment and national development, “Immediately” doesnt equate to fixing things in 3 months. I don`t think that is a premise that took UPND into Government. The voice of the masses is felt through demonstration and other unruly activities, we are NOT witnessing those. This argument is just being passed on social media by the same people who we expect to understand the basic functioning of the government, such as , budget being in place before anything starts. Why would UPND start apologizing after 3months, when they have 5 years ? Please, play your role and give people hope, and not downplaying everything, even where it doesn’t make sense.

  14. @Nshilimubemba
    Never mind Spaka let him continue calling Zambian voters “dogs” for asking the government to honor their promises….2026 is not too far and “dogs” are reading all these comments……alot of Zambians I’ve spoken to are already regretting voting for HH…..so expect a different voting pattern in 2026 because i don’t think HH will get any votes from “dogs”

  15. #18  Saulosi 
    November 22, 2021 At 1:20 pm

    Never mind Spaka let him continue calling Zambian voters “dogs” for asking the government to honor their promises….2026 is not too far and “dogs” are reading all these comments……”

    Saulosi ,

    I said the critics calling for immediate jobs are ” thicker than dogs sh.it ” ……

    For anyone to expect jobs immediately is indeed thick …….thicker that most things.

    If UPND found a normal functioning GRZ , jobs were going to be created by introducing SI’s to cut imports and bring production to zambia , but things are far from normal with unaccounted for millions of borrowed monies ……..

  16. The President calls them a “clique of thieves” and his supporters calls them “dogs”…….will wait and see if dogs and a clique of thieves will vote for HH in 2026….definitely not and that’s officially makes HH just a one term President

  17. @Saulosi,
    Its NOT the “clique of thieves” that voted for HH or UPND. It’s not voters who are ” thicker than dogs sh.it ” that voted for HH or UPND.
    So leave out the 2.8mill and also the majority of 1.8mil. So in general you are covering for the few former PF GRZ officials + a few staunch cadres on LT. Therefore, no one cares about the later group(few former PF GRZ officials + a few staunt cadres on LT). I encourage you with daily comments (you have a full rights to do so, without insults), if these are the arguments you will be using come 2026, I can assure you they will not worry HH and it will be a piece of cake to bounce back 2026, HH will have 2.8 + 1.7(from PF minus clique of thieves)

  18. @ 21  general Kanene

    Well said General…….

    Saulosi is part of the clique , that’s why he is so bitter……..

    Especially now CDF is moved directly to the people , clique supporters like him will starve……

  19. 1. Calling another human being a dog, rat & monkey says a lot about the person who does that. It basically proves that the person doing that is not at peace. She/he is angry, resentful, livid, hateful etc. A person who is content and at peace, would find it completely a waste of energy and time.

    If you come to Lusakatimes and starting arguing with those that you perceive to be dogs, rats or monkeys. Then that makes you the “grandest fool and *****”. Why would want to be putting up fights with dogs and rants. This has been going on for a long time. One just needs to read the archives.

  20. 2. When you are vengeful, resentful and hateful, the only person that you are hurting is yourself. You are constantly creating psychological dramas that pushes you and fools you that you get joy out of calling someone a dog, rat, monkey, when really its sickness & psychological dramas orbiting in your head. What a waste of energy that can used for Creative Power !!

  21. 3. If you read comments on Lusakatimes frequently, you can tell why the nation is a long way from development. We see bloggers who turn up every day just looking for a fight. Their mission is not to listen from other people’s point of view, but to counter attack even if it means using vulgar language and lies. To them they see it as scoring points. I have seen delusional scoring tables such as:

    HH :3
    Critics : 0

    Just, how sad is that. !!!

  22. We have found out that the clique of thieves can not be found in any other province and the nullification of parliamentary seats only in other provinces but in Southern province nothing went wrong and n Solwezi nothing went wrong but Kungo was killed on the election date and opposition voter monitors were chased and beaten nothing went wrong, strange things are happening in one Zambia one nation.
    This is the song we like to hear into our ears

  23. What is worrying me these days is that the stolen money is not being recovered why are we wasting time to arrest the looters of Zambian finances are walking and driving in the streets no arrests.
    What has happened please let one politician come out and inform us about this trend

     November 22, 2021 At 6:15 pm

    “1. Calling another human being a dog, rat & monkey says a lot about the person who does that. It basically proves that the person doing that is not at peace. She/he is angry, resentful, livid, hateful ….”

    Stop beating about the bush…….

    When I said as thick as dogs sh.it is not the same as calling some one a dog , you are
    ” AS THICK AS DOGS SH.IT ” , dull, chikopo…..

    You are one of the dullest bloggers who thinks you are clever supported by some ignorant souls……..

    Most of the time you are wrong , yet you think you are right ……

    Delusions of grandeur on your part..

  25. Independent Observer # 23

    SPAKA #19 is the only laughingstock who draws up league tables…… Kiki kiki kiki
    For him he sees everything in terms hateful, being Tonga and giving HH score boards.
    I think this guy has not got much to do in life judging by how frequent he posts comments, especially doing his usual copy & pasty sh1t which is very irritating. He must have a very boring and frustrated lifestyle……

  26. SPAKA “28
    Bro.. With all due respect. How many times have you called other bloggers rats and dogs in the past posting.
    I really think you need to start evaluating your comments. Lets support HH and not reduce UPND to low trash. Your follow up is basically proving INDEPENDENCE OBSERVER very right to the very thing he is talking against about…….
    My Bro…. What kind of a person can compare another person to be as think as a dog sh1t as you put it. Please let’s do better. I am sorry, you are very wrong!! Just calm down. HH does not want this kind of representations from UPND bloggers or those of us that put in the hard work to campaign and get him into plot 1. He wants us to be above pettiness and sell his ideas and policies and not name calling people. And we don’t have to…

  27. flag Wow! How Anthony Bwalya came from the backdoor, overlapped and knockout SLUGGISH and SLEEPY established media CRONIES of UPND to become HH’s Right Hand Man & Press Aid.

    Spaka *** 29

    Whats up? You got missed out from getting jobs by HH.
    You are not the only one crying inside UPND family.
    They are many of you guys, especially from UPND London Branch.
    Chill Out Dude.. Hehehe hehehe.

  28. Spaka . ## 28 Thats not the way to go. You have to be a better ambassador for HH. I agree with 32# Geoffrey Khumbula. Lets exports insults to PF. I dont agree with everything Independent Observer says, but I think he is preaching about avoiding insults and name calling, which is noble. You have really have called PF bloggers rants and dogs in the past. Its not a nice thing to do.

  29. @32 Geoffrey Khumbula
    I have plenty of Tonga friends from all walks of life and majority of them very successful and they respect others….it’s just this low life Spaka who lives a miserable and lonely life in the UK and no wonder he is commenting 24/7 on Lusaka Times….ask yourself if he even have a family…..who spends day and night posting comments and insulting fellow bloggers……and he is capable of bringing HH down….people read his comments and insults

  30. Ba Spaka

    Mudala… The truth always hurts and that’s why you have even gotten more angry by responding in the manner that
    you have responded to independent observer. You need to stop taking things so serious… Oh My God
    You get so pumped up every single day. Why do you find it so hard to express your opinions without indulging
    in naming people this and that. You need to deal with whatever is troubling you.
    Its getting worse day by day


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