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Saturday, 3 February 2007

Zambian development, what is missing?

Zambian development, what is missing?

In Zambia we have spent a lot of time discussing how we develop in the long term and ensure we have a viable society. This is an issue I have been considering in the last three years. Yes the last three years I have spent time assessing how do we move forward?

The answer seems to be self evident. Zambia needs to create a unique philosophical and economic consensus built upon our way of thinking. Zambian solutions for Zambian problems. In my view we can no longer look to import ideas from the west and translate them at home. We need something that is intrinsically Zambian and founded on our ideals. We are at our best when we are truly Zambian. I think a time has come to look at two fundamental questions which have not been assessed:

1. What kind of development do we want to see in Zambia? And what do we mean by development?

2. What institutions do we want to put in place to develiver that development?

The issue of chiefs is pertinent. We need to harness the role of chiefs and bring them back to the centre, preferable through enhancing the powers of the second chamber. But I also see them being more effective at local development. Crucially, we will need to bring them up to a level of literacy that would allow for them to engage properly in the debate.

It is very sad that a debate on the role of our cultural institutions in development is not being adequately debated. This issue should be at the fore front.

3 comments:

  1. " Zambian development, what is missing? "

    " In Zambia we have spent a lot of time discussing how we develop in the long term and ensure we have a viable society. This is an issue I have been considering in the last three years. Yes the last three years I have spent time assessing how do we move forward? "

    What is needed, is an economist who thinks like a small business owner. We need to stimulate SMEs, so millions of unofficial business owners can step up their operations. Even if 10% of marketeers would transform their business in a medium sized enterprise, and employed on average 8 people, they would be creating a million jobs.


    " The answer seems to be self evident. Zambia needs to create a unique philosophical and economic consensus built upon our way of thinking. Zambian solutions for Zambian problems. In my view we can no longer look to import ideas from the west and translate them at home. We need something that is intrinsically Zambian and founded on our ideals. We are at our best when we are truly Zambian. "

    So please spell out those ideals? :)


    " I think a time has come to look at two fundamental questions which have not been assessed:
    1. What kind of development do we want to see in Zambia? And what do we mean by development?
    2. What institutions do we want to put in place to develiver that development?
    The issue of chiefs is pertinent. We need to harness the role of chiefs and bring them back to the centre, preferable through enhancing the powers of the second chamber. But I also see them being more effective at local development. Crucially, we will need to bring them up to a level of literacy that would allow for them to engage properly in the debate. "

    I don't know. I have discussed the issue of chiefs before. The problem I have with elevating and including chiefs in government, is that they are an essentially unelected, hereditary group. By definition, they are going to be extremely conservative.

    Also, education is a big issue. It is going to take a long time to get chiefs up to speed with educational standards.

    There is another problem. Either chiefs are targeted for education, and their subjects aren't. OR everyone including the chiefs are educated, in which case one wouldn't need chiefs to run for local government, for instance.


    " It is very sad that a debate on the role of our cultural institutions in development is not being adequately debated. This issue should be at the fore front. "

    Well I'm looking forward to it, and I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

    And I'm not saying that if they are deeply ingrained in society and actually have a lot to contribute, I would be against them. I'm just wondering what it is exactly that they can contribute.


    However on the subject of the article.

    What is missing?

    What is required, is the development of a massive middle class. That means, getting land, housing, professional and semi-professional jobs into the hands of the majority of the population. Every adult should own a farm, a business, a home, OR be in a well paying (skilled) job.

    That is where we have to get to. That is what is missing.


    What we have now, is a finance minister who thinks that achieving macro-economic targets will magically 'bring development'. A finance minister who seems to have nothing but contempt for ordinary people.

    It is one thing to think that because of economic theory, businesses will take off when inflation hits below double digits, but as we have seen, this is not the case. Not only doesn't this take the individual characteristics of the Zambian economy into account, it doesn't explain where these companies are going to come from (except abroad, of course). It doesn't take into account that there all kinds of other things going on in the economy, like the $250 million that were recently 'found' in domestic accounts. Or the fact that interest rates do not fall single digits, to meet single digit inflation in Zambia.

    I understand that these neoliberal individuals (the MMD, the UPND to a slightly lesser extent) are neocolonial elites. However, I have never understood the disconnect between them and the general population. It is as if general advancement of the people is a personal threat to themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mrk,

    Thanks for your comments....
    My thoughts below...

    1. I agree with much what you have proposed in terms of policies e.g. the emphasis on the need to expand the middle class and so forth..

    2. But in my view you cannot propose policies until you have a clear view of the base from which to build. We need to know and define development from a Zambian perspective before thinking about what policies we should use.

    3. On the role of chiefs...I have discussed the case for a stronger second chamber and addressed your concerns in my blog "Insights from Chief Puta". Please read that and let me know your thoughts. The need for a philosophical basis for development is also tackled there.

    I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts and look forward to more exchanges!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. CHO,

    I agree that there should be no fixed policies before any thorough analysis of the facts on the ground. However, given that one can be very flexible about the means, as long as you know where you're going, I would say that there are a lot of things that can already be said.

    I'll check and comment on the Chief Puta article.

    ReplyDelete

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