Editor's Comment

Diplomats should understand Zambia’s development agenda

FILE: PRESIDENT Lungu displays the 7 National Development Plan during the launch of the document in Lusaka. PICTURE: CHANDA MWENYA

THE Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) is the blueprint for our country’s socio-economic development.
The document, which runs up to 2021, is designed to help the country achieve the objectives of the Vision 2030, which articulates the appropriate national and sector goals to meet people’s aspirations.
Citizens have expressed desire to attain middle-income status by the year 2030, culminating into a vision statement “a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030”.
The quest for Vision 2030 will be operationalised through the implementation of five national development plans, beginning with the Fifth National Development Plan, covering the period 2006- 2010.
The Vision 2030 is a long-term plan that expresses the aspirations of the Zambian people to live in a strong and dynamic, middle-income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all.
It embodies values of socio-economic justice underpinned by the principles of gender-responsive, sustainable development; democracy; respect for human rights; good traditional and family values; positive attitude towards work; peaceful co-existence; and public-private partnerships (PPPs).
It also outlines long-term national and sector goals for attaining desirable socio-economic indicators to fulfil the Zambian people’s aspirations. Once implemented, the vision positions Zambia as an economy which is competitive, self-sustaining, dynamic and resilient to any external shocks, supports stability and protection of biological and physical systems and is free from donor dependence.
The 2006–2010 NDP was succeeded by the Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015), which along the way was revised (2013-2016), with the aim of achieving the objectives set out in the Vision 2030 of Zambia becoming a “prosperous middle-income country by 2030”.
For the next five years, up to 2021, the country’s development agenda will be driven by the 7NDP, envisioning a prosperous middle-income economy offering decent employment opportunities for all Zambians of different skills and background.
This will be achieved by harnessing opportunities for economic diversification and growth. The 7NDP is a building block formulated to meet the goals contained in the Vision 2030.
The plan underlines that Zambia’s comparative advantage lies in its endowment of renewable and natural resources which can be productively harnessed. Overall, good climate and soils make organic and climate-smart agriculture development and processing poised for growth.
Given the importance of the 7NDP, Zambian diplomats must know its content because that will inform them on how the country should move.
For diplomats, the 7NDP will supplement the Diaspora Policy and foreign policy, which are in synch with the 7NDP.
Zambia is focusing on economic diplomacy and, therefore, the 7NDP is an important base for them to achieve on their deliverables.
Therefore, if a diplomat does not understand the 7NDP, diaspora and foreign policies, they may just end up drinking tea and while their time away.
Zambian diplomats have a mandate to engage partners to help to bring the plans to fruition through forged strategic alliances and learnt best practices. They are also supposed to export the best of Zambia’s practices, some of which are outlined in the document.
So, as Lieutenant-General Paul Mihova, Major-General Jackson Miti and Mwansa Kapeya take up these new positions, they must heed President Edgar Lungu’s counsel to make an effort to understand the contents of the 7NDP currently under implementation.
This document is a blueprint to diplomats in explaining Zambia’s development agenda at bilateral level.
This is so because a diplomat is Zambia’s mirror in the country of posting of everything that the country represents, what it is and what it strives to be across the entire spectrum of the development agenda – economic, social, political and cultural.
Time for ill-informed or, worse still, uninformed diplomats is long gone. Thankfully, the three gentlemen fit the bill.

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