ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
A CONSORTIUM of civil society organisations has launched a project aimed at contributing to the equitable, effective and responsible allocation and use of public resources for agriculture and health in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
The Partnership for Social Accountability (PSA) project is a consortium of four agencies that include Action Aid International as lead organisation, Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmersâ€™ Forum, Southern African HIV and AIDS Information and Dissemination Services, and Public Service Accountability Monitor, and is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
ActionAid Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba said reflecting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, the project will build the capacity of state officials and parliamentarians to more effectively manage public funds, support small-scale farmers and the media in holding leaders accountable.
Ms Ziba said in the first three years of implementation, the project will focus on Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
â€œQuality public services are a right for all. Service delivery across Southern Africa depends on transparent and accountable management of public resources. Governments have a responsibility to effectively plan and allocate resources.
â€œParliaments must provide effective oversight, citizens must be free and able to monitor and hold them to account. By strengthening state and civil society, the project will improve public services in our region, particularly in health and agriculture,â€ she said in a statement issued to the Daily Mail yesterday.
Commenting on the development, SADC regional-national linkages programme coordinator Maxwell Mkumba said social accountability is vital for sustainable development in the Southern Africa region in meeting the goals and objectives of SADC, especially, poverty reduction and viable economic growth.
â€œWe are committed to effective management of public resources across the region, and thus enthusiastically welcome this project, in line with the priorities of the Revised Regional Integrated Development Plan 2015/20, the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as the UN SDGs,â€ Mr Mkumba said.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka