Development cooperation negotiations for the period 2023 to 2024 between the Republic of Zambia and the Federal Republic of Germany, have commenced in Berlin, Germany. Germany has been Zambia’s key development partner since the two countries established diplomatic relations in the 60’s.
Speaking during the opening session, Secretary to the Treasury FELIX NKULUKUSA, Zambia’s delegation leader, says the negotiations are aimed at defining Germany’s framework of support for the period 2023 to 2024.
Mr. NKULUKUSA reiterated Zambia’s appreciation of Germany’s “significant support to key priority areas through agencies such as the Germany International Agency for International Development, Credit Institute for Reconstruction and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Sciences.
“Through the rapid support package of more than €30 million, Germany recently provided grant support to water and sanitation, health, emergency social cash transfers, governance and natural resource protection at a time when Zambia was battling with the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr. NKULUKUSA said. He reaffirmed that Germany’s current support in various sectors is aligned with national priorities in the Eight National Development Plan (8NDP) whose central focus is socio-economic transformation for improved livelihoods.
Zambia seeks to strengthen the local planning process, anchored on the full operationalization of the planning and budgeting Act No.1 of 2020 and the Urban and Regional Planning Act no. 3 of 2015.
During the 8NDP stage, Zambia will scale-up interventions that promote transparency and accountability. Governance institutions such as the Office of the Auditor-General and the Anti-Corruption Commission will, among others, be capacitated. Parliamentary, media, legal, judicial, and electoral reforms are also among the undertakings of the Zambian Government in the next 5 years as a way of strengthening democratic and fiscal governance. Furthermore, land reforms through programmes such as the national land titling project and the land information management system, will be embarked on to deliver social economic transformation for improved livelihoods for all.
The Ministry of Finance and National Planning has, since 2005, been one of the beneficiaries of deutsche support aimed at strengthening transparency, accountability and efficiency in domestic resource mobilization. Other areas that have received support include public procurement, fiscal decentralization, and budget planning and execution.
The Secretary to the Treasury expressed Zambia’s gratitude for Germany’s willingness to continue supporting the decentralization and effective local governance agenda.
Mr. Nkulukusa said Germany’s continued support to decentralization and local governance will play an important role in Zambia’s quest to deliver development closer to citizens. He added that the support of the people of Germany will play a major role in ensuring that the increased budget to local authorities in Zambia is successfully administered and achieves the desired developmental goals.
And commenting on the global economy, Mr. Nkulukusa reasoned that the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have exposed vulnerabilities in areas such as health, information and technology, tourism and the commodities market, and led to contraction in private sector consumption over the past three years, thereby posing risks of elevated poverty in many parts of Africa.
“The impact of the conflict on Zambia has mainly been through increased agro-input and fuel prices,” the Secretary to the Treasury said and took the opportunity to express profound gratitude to Germany, which despite the adverse effects of the highlighted global challenges, “has increased its financial commitment to Euro 77 million in the next cycle from Euro 46.8 million in the current cycle.”
Mr. Nkulukusa assured the Germany authorities that the resources, once committed and provided, will prudently be utilized for intended purposes and with high levels of accountability and transparency.
Speaking at the same event, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, SVENJA SCHULZE said the strong and close partnership between the two countries is based on the common goal of fighting poverty and inequality and also promoting the rule of law, democracy and human rights.
“This is the first time I am able to welcome representatives of your new Government, which came into office a year ago,” she observed, and further encouraged Zambia to remain proud that the peaceful democratic transition had sent a positive signal to the whole African continent.
“We value your Government’s commitment to democracy, human rights and accountability and are happy with the progress made towards an enhanced civic space, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the media, and a reduction in the influence of political cadres,” said Minister SCHULZE.
She furthermore observed that when the New Dawn Administration came into office, it became clear how much unsustainable debt had piled up during the past decade. “Thanks to your Government’s constructive and transparent collaboration with the IMF, an Extended Credit Facility was approved in August this year but significant challenges still lie ahead: the complex debt restructuring process with all creditors involved under the G20 Common Framework remains an enormous task,” Ms. SCHULZE stated.
The Germany Minister took the opportunity to announce that her country, though not a creditor, would offer support and assist Zambia in addressing some of the performance challenges in areas such as improving tax revenues, strengthening budget credibility, and supporting the country in her planned reform of public financial management – in joint collaboration with the European Union and USAID. Mr. Nkulukusa welcomed the announcement.
“An important focus of Zambia-Germany cooperation will be the strengthening of anti-corruption, accountability and transparency.
I am glad to hear that His Excellency, President HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, intends to follow “a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in all its forms,” said Minister SCHULZE.
Furthermore, she noted that during COP 27, both countries reconfirmed their commitments to climate goals as agreed in the Paris Agreement.
“Of course, your country is not a ‘polluter’, as your energy production largely relies on hydropower, however, the scale of deforestation remains a big challenge, and your people are suffering greatly from the effects of climate change. Zambia’s water resources are more abundant than in neighbouring countries but there are some regions that suffer badly from increasing water shortages and recurrent droughts, and need assistance,” discussed Minister SCHULZE.
The German Minister said considering the impact of erratic rainfall patterns on the agriculture sector, her Government wants to support Zambia in its strategies to address climate adaptation in the water and agriculture sectors.
“I assure you that in our core areas of cooperation – good governance, water and sanitation, and agriculture and nutrition – we aim to support your Government in realizing the 2030 Agenda. We will jointly work towards reducing poverty and inequality and protecting the most vulnerable. Germany is keen to assist you in your ambitious reform agenda through its development cooperation,” Minister SCHULZE told the Zambian delegation.
During the visit to Germany, the Zambian delegation will tour the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The Institute is currently conducting a study on the impact of climate change on the Zambian agriculture sector.
Mr. Nkulukusa is accompanied to Berlin by Mr. Joe Kalusa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation.