UPND President Hakainde Hichilema writes below…
We made a presentation yesterday at the Woodrow Wilson Center where we discussed the state of play in Zambia. The audience’s main interest were the human rights and economic situation in the country. They were also interested to know what we would do differently if we were in office.
On the human rights abuses, we assured them that we as opposition charged with the responsibility of providing checks and balances will continue holding the PF government accountable.
We reiterated our resolve to amend certain pieces of legislation such as the colonial Public Order Act that limits people’s freedoms of assembly and does not conform to the current international standards and norms.
On the economy the various stakeholders we engaged in a side event, especially investors, are very worried about the mounting debt. We requested that the investors in the room could begin to speak to their fellow private sector players on possibility of debt restructuring.
They made a commitment that once they see a serious commitment to fiscal discipline, they are willing to help the country to renegotiate the debt held by private sector.
We spoke about the opportunities for the investors to come and partner with our Zambian businessmen. They had no objection to creating joint ventures.
They pledged investment of about US$25.8 billion over a period of 5 years. They are interested in electricity, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, infrastructure and mining.
The bulk of their investment will be in electricity generation and portfolio diversification, they also see agriculture and tourism as main foreign exchange earners.
They believe that reliable infrastructure will also provide dividends to their investment. They repeated the pledge for joint ventures as long as the government has policy consistency and fiscal discipline.
Ultimately the stakeholders we met are very optimistic about the country after we shared our plan for revitalising the economy. They placed the onus of creating a Zambia we want, on ourselves as citizens of the country.
Our appeal to all Zambians is that we need to work together and ensure a peaceful and democratic transition by massively voting for UPND in 2021 so that these investment pledges can come forth. We have a great plan and vision for Zambia. Let us all seize the moment to rebuild our great country.