June 09, 2005, Zambia, Press Release

The Government of Zambia has agreed to accede to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and Zambia will be part of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) steering committee very soon, said Ronnie S Shikapwasha MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the consultative workshop on NEPAD. The minister stressed that NEPAD is a Government-led project through private sector\civil society driven and the Government affixes great importance to the NEPAD initiative not only because it is a socio-economic programme of the African Union, but also at the national level, the Government would like to use it as a major tool to achieve rapid economic growth and development, as well as eradicating poverty. This speech was read on his behalf by Ambassador Akapelwa, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the launch of the national consultative workshop organised by Consumer Unity and Trusty Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC), in association with Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) at Lusaka, Zambia, on June 8-9, 2005.

Speaking at the workshop, Canadian High Commissioner to Zambia John Deyell, congratulated Zambia on its NEPAD effort to date. He said that although NEPAD has been with us for over three years now, there is still much work to be done in propagating and implementing its principles. At the Livingstone meeting in September 2004, the Government committed to formally accede to the APRM, and to establishing a NEPAD focal point within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We expressed interest on learning that how these and other initiatives are progressing. The High Commissioner stated that it was in this framework of NEPAD response that the Canadian Government announced in May 2005, that Zambia would be one of the 14 African countries out of 25 worldwide that will receive two-thirds of Canada’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) by 2010. High Commissioner Deyell recommended Zambia for delivering on the NEPAD commitment, and the Canadian government is committed to supporting efforts under NEPAD.

Speaking at the workshop, Bwalya Ng’andu, Managing Director of the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), added that efforts have been and are being made in Zambia to improve the financial sector, particularly the banking system. Although the effort has not been triggered by the NEPAD proclamation, the progress being made will give impetus to the achievement of the NEPAD’s economic goals of eradicating poverty and putting Zambia on the path to economic development.

The NEPAD sponsored Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) provides Zambia a window of opportunity for pushing Zambia’s Agriculture sector forward as a tool for enhancing economic development in Zambia. The prerequisite to tapping this potential remains in the country’s commitment to allocating the minimum required resources of 10 percent of National Budget to agriculture and NEPAD’s ability to facilitate, through Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zambia’s access to the required resources to implement the CAADP Agenda, said Anthony Mwanaumo of the Agriculture Consultative Forum (ACF).

Jack Jones Zulu of Jubilee-Zambia suggested that while NEPAD has the potential to raise the social and economic conditions in Zambia, financing NEPAD is by far the biggest operational challenge facing most African countries including Zambia, considering not just the history of poor economic performance by these countries but also, the very underdeveloped nature of their domestic economies.

The two-day workshop highlighted a number of issues, which could be addressed under NEPAD framework. There is need to improve the investment climate in Zambia, this can be attained by focusing on improving Peace and Security, Political & Economic Governance, Corporate Governance, Promotion of the Private Sector, Strengthen Regional Trading Blocks, Infrastructure and Human Resource Development, and prevention of HIV-AIDS said, Eugene Chandi of Zambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI).

Francis Chigunta of the University of Zambia proposed that, in order to maximize benefits from NEPAD, there is need for capacity building for the sustainable implementation of NEPAD in Zambia. And, this should be extended to all stakeholders, as identified at the NEPAD sensitisation workshop held at Livingstone in 2004. Thus, the venture of capacity building should be targeted at different levels of actors, focusing on varying needs. This follow up workshop was organised in Lusaka to facilitate the launch of the partnership project entitled, ‘Information-based Advocacy, Networking and Capacity Building on NEPAD in Zambia, which is being supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).