Yohane Mbeeya Moono
In the early 2000s during the country was heavily indebted and this brought back the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point. This made the New Deal Administration to embark on an ambitious project called the Vision2030 a blueprint that spelt out how Zambia would achieve Lower Middle Income Status in 10 and Middle Income Prosperous Nation by the year 2030.
The key sectors that the Vision2030 blueprint focused on were Mining, Tourism, Agriculture and Trade and Investments as the chief economic architects of achieving Lower Middle Income status. Among the projects that the country targeted were the Winter Maize project which was to help the country became food secure and export surplus to boost the Zambian economy. The Mining sector saw the Konkola Copper Mines launch the construction Konkola Deep Mine project in Chililambombwe which was commissioned in 2009. The country also saw the creation of the Multi-facility economic Zones. One is domiciled on the Copperbelt called the Zambia-China Multi-facility Economic Zone in Chambishi along the Kitwe-Chingola Road. The other is the Lusaka-East Multi-facility. The creation of these Multi-facility economic zones was to come with massive road infrastructure to help the goods from these economic zones quickly reach the points of exit on time.
The country began to move in that direction and the strong economic performance posted during this time led to a strong and stable exchange rate against major convertible currencies. This was happening at the time the country was graded as a poor country
The change of government in 2011 saw Zambia begin to issue Eurobonds for the purpose of financing Infrastructure Development. Zambia by 2019 had issued 3 Eurobonds with the first falling due in September of 2022. As of 2021, the country is classified once again as a Poor Country by the World Bank. This is a feat that should not dampen the economic performance of the country.
Fast forward to 2022, the New Dawn Administration has broadly declared to the World that Zambia is open for business. The country has received positive investment pledges that are likely to help the country move from being classified as a poor country. The following investment plans have been announced:
1. Kansanshi Mine Expansion valued at $1.3 Billion
2. The expected opening of the Nickel Mine in Kalumbila District of North-western province
3. $100 Million Expansion project of the ZAMBEEF farms in order to boost production
4.$80 Million Expansion project by Zambian Breweries
5.$70 Million Exploration by the Anglo-American through ARC Minerals Limited
6. The expected end to the legal battle at the mining giant Konkola Copper Mines
7. The Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain Agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo to control the production of batteries in the Environmental friendly move as the World transition to clean sources of energy as part of the Green Economy initiative
8. The Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Agreement with Copperbelt Energy Corporation in order to help the Mining companies both in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo boost production
The improved annual inflation to a single digit and the positive gains posted by the Kwacha against major convertible currencies in the World and the positive tax returns that the Zambia Revenue Authority has posted recently would help the country return to a Middle Income Prosperous Nation.
The Eight National Development Plan clearly outlines the ambitious plans that the countries has in order to achieve the Middle Income Prosperous Nation status. The key pillars of the Document include: Mining, Tourism, Agriculture,Green Economy and Trade and Investments. Of course stamping out corruption, upholding the rule of law and improved social services to the citizenry are all part of the while package of achieving the projected plans.
A disciplined and focused approach will help Zambia return to Middle Income status as the Grading is not a true reflection of Economic Performance.