Editor's Comment

Zambia can, shall overcome

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu (second left) addressing the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, in New York, USA, on Monday. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA

THE theme for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly ‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies’, is timely.
It sits well with the expectations of the people of the world, especially developing countries such as Zambia.
It also comes three years after the world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit.
The 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force on January 1, 2016.
The SDGs, the successor of the Millennium Development Goals, are aimed at wiping out poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty.
Poverty is undoubtedly the greatest global challenge that needs to be tackled if sustainable development is to be attained
All countries and all other stakeholders who signed the SDGs pledged that, acting in collaborative partnership, they will liberate the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want, heal and secure our planet, take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.
The Zambian government has already embarked on this ambitious goal with a bold pledge not to leave anyone behind.
That is why President Edgar Lungu has taken advantage of the community of world leaders to shout out Zambia’s case.
President Lungu has told the UNGA that Zambia needs the support of all its cooperating partners to effectively implement the SDGs.
Zambia has demonstrated its desire to overcome poverty through various programmes such as the robust infrastructure programme in all sectors of the economy.
However, like President Lungu has stated, while pursuing these goals, Government is mindful of the challenges in financing development, as well as the declining resources and official development assistance, especially to countries in special situations such as LDCs (least developed countries) and LLDCs (landlocked least developed countries), to which Zambia belongs.
It is not a secret that Zambia has made huge strides towards achieving the middle-income country status.
This has seen some donors withdrawing or scaling down their bilateral aid to help other nations that are not as improved as Zambia. Those donors’ assessment was based on the improved lifestyles in Kalumbila, Kitwe, Livingstone, Lusaka, Ndola and Solwezi.
But Zambia is bigger than the six districts, whose growth is propelled by city status and mineral wealth. Zambia has a vast rural area where many people are living in abject poverty and need the intervention of the country’s partners.
That is why President Lungu is calling upon all partners to work with his Government and ensure that together, they effectively implement the SDGs.
Zambia’s pursuit of the SDGs is embedded in the ‘Vision 2030’ through the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan, which is intended to make the nation a prosperous middle-income one by 2030.
To achieve this, the country must overcome many hurdles, especially that it depends on primary commodities for economic growth.
However, declining commodity prices on the international market means less money hitting the treasury.
Government has not sat idly by or on its laurels because commodity prices are not bringing the desired income to develop the country. Government is overcoming this challenge by diversifying the economy and making it resilient.
Agriculture, tourism and the energy sectors are slowly becoming the drivers of the economy.
Sustainable economic development should see Government deliver inclusive and equitable development to its citizens.
This calls for strengthened mutually beneficial partnerships in the context of South-South Cooperation with its development partners.
The challenge is tough but Zambia is toughened enough to overcome this hurdle.

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