Editor's Comment

This is what friends do

THE saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed has indeed been expressed yet again by the United States of America through its gesture to give Zambia a grant of US$1.9 billion, an equivalent of K39 billion to be invested in social sectors staggered over a period of five years.
The US is extending the grant at a time when Zambia is really in need of help, hence being a true friend.
The US intends to transform the lives of 2.5 million Zambians, especially the most vulnerable.
The gesture by the US to come to the aid of Zambia at a time the country is battling the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is commendable and a symbol of being all-weather friends.
Despite the US also struggling to contain COVID-19, it is gratifying that it is still committed to deepening relations with Zambia by way of extending help.
The US has been helping Zambia in several areas such as health care, good governance and training Zambian troops for peacekeeping operations in war-torn countries.
Since 2004, the US government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has partnered with the Zambian government through the Ministry of Health and National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC) in coordinating a national HIV response.
Through the United States Agency for International Development, the US works closely with the Government to strengthen the public health system at the national, provincial, district, and community levels.
That is how the US has been coming to Zambia’s rescue.
It intends to help Zambia improve health care delivery and enhance patient outcomes.
The US$1.9 billion grant will also help improve literacy levels as it is critical to economic development.
Literacy enables people to develop skills that will help them provide for themselves, their families and the wider community.
One of the positive outcomes of the grant is in the agriculture sector to build the capacity of farmers to increase crop production and enhance food security at household and national levels.
The US is also looking at contributing to the economic development of the country as well as economic diversification.
The gesture will enhance the strides the country has been making in its economic development.
Government has, through the Seventh National Development Plan, expressed the desire to diversify the economy from its dependence on copper to other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.
A diversified economy in the case of Zambia is cushioned when one sector such as mining encounters poor prices or low demand for minerals.
So if one sector underperforms during a certain period, other booming sectors mitigate the losses and keep the wheels of the economy running.
Zambia is in need of help to transform economic development into sustainable development with safeguards in the wake of depleting natural resources.
The implementation phases of the US$1.9 billion grant will contribute to the stimulation of economic activities as jobs will be created and the earning power will find its way to the markets.
Capacity to be built will translate into skills and knowledge transfer for citizens which will outlive the grant period.
The onus is now on Zambians to collectively ensure that this support does result in the desired positive changes in society.



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