‘Counter challenges to attain development’


THE United Nations (UN) says Zambia is among the least developed countries (LDCs) that have continued to encounter challenges of commodity dependency traps and balance of payment constraints, and breaking away from the traps will go a long way in the attainment of sustainable development.
UN resident coordinator Janet Rogan said LDCs’ dependency on primary commodities such as copper have made the countries vulnerable to boom and bust cycles, while weak productive bases and limited export diversification, have constrained the balance of payments.
The development has further resulted in the accumulation of foreign debt and weighed down the growth rate.
Ms Rogan said this last week during the launch of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) least developed countries 2016 Report.
The report, which is reviewed every three years and looks at the per capita income, human assets index and the economic vulnerability index of the countries, has noted that many LDCs and low income are still systematically challenged by the poverty, commodity dependence and balance of payment traps.
This year’s report has also noted that most LDCs still have not graduated and the goal appears out of reach despite the international community setting goals that the LDCs should graduate by 2020.
“When an LDC can break free of these vicious circles to rely primarily on its own strengths and on the international markets for its development that country will surely be graduating from LDC to the status of other developed country” she said.
Ms Rogan, however, said countries will only break away from the vicious circles if they adequately access international support in areas of trade, finance and technology.
She also said there is need to focus on rural transformation, industrialisation, improved methods of financing, and enabling macro-economic policies.
Stronger regional integration and south-south cooperation will also contribute to the graduation of LDCs in the areas of finance and trade.
At the same occasion, Ministry of National Development and Planning director of public investment planning Crane Muleya, who admitted that Zambia’s dependence on copper and maize has undermined the country’s capacity to achieve its economic potential, said strengthening the resilience of the economy remains critical in the attainment of sustainable growth.
“Resilience of the economy will mean the need to ensure that the economy is robust and resilient to international commodity prices and also to climate change,” he said.

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