Republican President Hakainde Hichilema has stated that Zambia still has a comparative and competitive advantage in the face of climate change challenges, as the country still possesses the necessary natural resources to accelerate economic development. Speaking at the Dakar 2 Summit in Senegal, which focused on “Feed Resilience and Food Sovereignty,” President Hichilema emphasized that Zambia is home to various resources that can be effectively and efficiently put into production, such as hydrology, soils, agronomical conditions, and expansive land. He said, “Within the climate change challenges, Zambia still has the hydrology, soils, agronomical conditions and the expansive land that is available to be put into production.”
President Hichilema further stated that there is no need to open up new areas as the existing land for agriculture is still underutilized. He also highlighted that the New Dawn Government remains committed in working with small scale businesses in order to increase their productivity. He said, “We are committed to working with small scale businesses to increase their productivity, as they are the backbone of our economy.”
However, Dr. Fred M’membe, the President of the Socialist Party, has raised concerns over President Hichilema’s rhetoric and assessment of the situation in Zambia. In a statement, M’membe wrote that “Mr. Hakainde Hichilema’s rhetorical speeches to the outside world continue to raise eyebrows among concerned citizens.” He went on to say that while Hichilema’s assessment of the relationship between food security and political and economic stability is correct, he fails to mention the food crisis in the country under his leadership. Zambia is currently the fourth hungriest country on the African continent and fifth in the world, according to M’membe. He said, “With the chaos we have witnessed around fertiliser distribution this year and the skyrocketing prices of mealie meal and other basic goods, it should not come as a surprise to Mr Hichilema if protests mushroom across the country.”
President Hichilema also expressed concern over the hunger situation on the African continent, calling it shameful and urging African leaders to work together to address the issue. He emphasized that food security is key for political stability and enhancing democracy. He said, “It is shameful that Africa is hungry, and we need to work together to wash away this shame. Food security is key for political stability and enhancing democracy.” The President was in Dakar at the invitation of the President of Senegal and Chairman of the African Union, Macky Sall, to participate in the Dakar 2 on Agriculture.