Editor's Comment

Zambia’s growth motivating

Great East Road

THE news that Zambia has moved from low to medium human development category is encouraging.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2014 report, the country has recorded an improvement from 167th last year to 141st out of 187 countries.
This means Zambia has moved 26 places, and the UNDP has attributed this improvement to an increase in the country’s life expectancy, access to education and income.
Some people may argue that these are mere figures, which may not be a true reflection of the realities on the ground.
However, it is important to note that these statistics and qualitative information were not just dreamed up. They are a result of a serious and well-executed scientific study.
Research does not base its findings on assumptions but facts gathered through a comprehensive methodology.
We are cognisant of the fact that poverty levels in Zambia are still high, which is why we are urging Government and all citizens to play their part in efforts aimed at improving the country’s economy.
It is, however, clear that the policies and programmes the government is implementing with the help of its co-operating partners are making an impact on the general living conditions of the people.
The report notes that life expectancy has increased at birth, and that more citizens are accessing education.
Zambia has leapfrogged Kenya, which is now at 147 and is just within touching distance of Congo Brazzaville, which is 140th.
It also notes an increase in the gross national domestic income (GDI) per capita.
This information should motivate Government and all citizens to work even harder so that the country can post bigger achievements on the economic and human development fronts.
Like many other countries, Zambia has its own share of challenges ranging from a weak manufacturing sector to volatility in the exchange rate of its currency.
But what is important is to understand the country’s economic and social contexts to come up with effective strategies aimed at achieving tangible human development.
We agree with Vice President Guy Scott that it is important to understand the country’s dynamics because the world is not homogeneous.
As Dr Scott said it is prudent to tailor policies and programmes to address specific needs of the people.
For example, programmes such as the Social Cash Transfer, Farmer Input Support Programme, Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund and Youth Development Programme have the potential to create employment and reduce poverty.
So far, the interventions have produced encouraging results, changing the living conditions of thousands of Zambians, especially the vulnerable but viable small- and medium-scale farmers and entrepreneurs.
We urge Government to continue reviewing and strengthening these initiatives.
With the infrastructure and social development projects being incepted and implemented countrywide we are confident that the next UNDP report on human development will post even better results.
Dr Scott could not have been more right when he emphasised the importance of consistency in the formulation and implementation of policies.
Zambia has the potential to become a shining example of home grown development based on the aspirations and needs of the people if the government remains focused.
We urge all citizens to play their role in the development of the nation wherever they may be.
Whatever we do at individual, household, community, corporate and national levels, we should bear in mind that it has a bearing on the country’s overall performance in terms of development.
We should ask ourselves how we can use whatever we have at our disposal to make our lives and that of others better.

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