Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany Anthony Mukwita says Zambia is cognizant of what can happen when a country heavily relies on only one commodity as a source of foreign currency revenue.
Addressing students at Bard College Berlin, an Arts University in Berlin, Germany, Ambassador Mukwita said the Zambian economy faced severe challenges when Anglo-American Corporation suddenly dumped its assets owing to poor copper prices in London.
“You can imagine the panic that decision sent across all sectors of the economy as the company ran a significant portion of the mines upon which the Zambian economy depended for its foreign exchange receipts”, Ambassador Mukwita said in an answer to a question as to whether the natural resource curse associated with Africa could be applied to Zambia as well.
The natural resource curse concept is generally used in reference to wars waged over access to natural resources, which has seen some countries on the African continent plunged into chaos and political instability, or heavy dependence on one commodity for exports.
Ambassador Mukwita told students that heavy reliance on one commodity may be a form of resource curse as the crisis that comes with falling commodity prices could prove devastating for any country and Zambia had learnt it’s lessons.
The senior diplomat said President Edgar Lungu has stepped up on economic diversification to include agriculture, tourism and other potential areas of growth so that the country is anchored on solid ground going forward.
“Under President Lungu’s leadership, government has set aside one million hectares of land for agricultural development, we have seen tourism move up the ladder in the seniority of ministries, we have seen the end of energy subsidies that discouraged private sector investment, we continue to see a clamp down on corruption, and many other initiatives never before seen on the Zambian development landscape,” Ambassador Mukwita said.
The diplomat was invited to the school through Dr. Agatha Siwale, a Zambian lecturer whose students consist mostly economics and political science majors.
Dr. Siwale said while the school shares theories related to policy formulation and implementation, the invitation extended to Ambassador Mukwita was intended to expose the students to experiences involving policy makers and policy implementers from a practical perspective.
“We are honored and grateful that you could come and enrich our learning process”, Dr. Siwale told Ambassador Mukwita.
The Zambian envoy said it was his duty to share his experiences with young minds who are expected to be future policy makers and assume frontline positions on policy execution.
Ambassador Mukwita also encouraged the students to diarise Zambia as there first stop when eventually they head to Africa due to its unbroken record of peace.
The mission of Zambia in Berlin is determined to go beyond scheduled diplomatic meetings to spread the good gospel of Zambia said Ambassador Mukwita.
This is contained in a statement issued to Money FM News by Zambia’s Embassy in Germany First Secretary Kellys Kaunda.