Manifesto Executive Summary:
Where We are and The Future We Want for Zambia
To spearhead development transformation in Zambia resulting in an industrialized country with material improvements in the living and working conditions of the people.
Where We Are and The Future We Want
For well over a decade, until very recently, Zambia has been making impressive strides in economic growth. Indeed we have been an integral part of the ‘Africa Rising’ discourse. Improved macro-fiscal management, increased exports of copper and a growing middle class are all factors in this improved growth performance. However, in this correct perspective of Zambia Rising, it is vitally imperative, to bear in mind some key issues that clearly illustrate where we are as a country.
Domestic economic ownership and inclusive and sustainable development remain elusive in Zambia. Economic growth has not translated into jobs and prosperity for the majority of our people. Rather, unemployment, inequality and poverty still remain the norm in Zambian society. Our economic growth has not been fundamentally transformative. To the Democratic Front and Zambians at large, this is totally unacceptable and unnecessary in 2016.
Zambia’s growth pattern remains weak and largely powered by unprocessed copper. Consequently, our growth is fragile and vulnerable to the vagaries of the international commodities market.
Currently, our beloved Zambia is being threatened by the downfall in copper prices which has drastically reduced government revenue, worsened public financial management and debt sustainability and resulted in a general economic slowdown. The ongoing economic crisis clearly illustrates that Zambia cannot remain at the bottom of the value chain. Countries do not become wealthy by exporting raw materials. On the contrary, developed countries are characterized primarily by a diversified manufacturing base and an advanced services sector.
It is this definition of economic development that needs to be clearly understood in order for us to go beyond the rhetoric of ‘rising and transformation’; and attain the much sought after inclusive and sustainable development.
Structural transformation, which shifts the structure of production from agriculture to industry, reduces agricultural share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment, and promotes qualitative human and social development, is what Zambia needs to unlock our true potential and create jobs for our bulging youth population. Economic development transformation therefore boils down to industrialization.
Development and hence industrialization, is at its core a political process, with an economic strategy attached. It is about the right policies, effective institutions and delivering tangible benefits to citizens. Successful transformation requires a laser-like concentration on development, and industrialization for decades. There is a strong political dimension here and indeed the agency of leadership is pivotal to successful economic development the world over.
The DF will provide a proactive, democratic, developmental state that will mobilize all sectors of society behind the development imperative. The inter-generational focus on developing manufacturing must transcend politics. Industrialization is the king of Zambia’s forthcoming socio-economic transformation.
The Democratic Front’s economic strategy to achieve an industrialized society with corresponding human development is Pragmatism. We will not be ideological in our approach to development. Markets will be taken very seriously but no blind faith will be placed in them. Our strategy recognizes that free markets sometimes need to be corrected through policy intervention. At the same time, over extended states can over protect industries and thus never prepare them for competition in terms of product quality, productivity and technological dynamism.
In the final analysis, the conditions on the ground and international best practice will govern our industrial development policy. The DF does recognize the private sector as the true and sustainable source of wealth creation and will provide an enabling environment for both domestic and foreign private sector entrepreneurship while being pragmatic. Like early and late successful industrializing countries, the DF government will nurture certain new industries selected by the government, in consultation with the private sector. Government intervention will be on a SMART subsidy basis until the ‘infant’ industries are ‘grown-up’ and able to withstand international competition. The goal is to build world-class firms with cutting edge technology, sound management practices and products that can compete with anyone.
Currently, there is global debate on whether development should be state or private-sector led. Zambia’s economic history reveals that the right mix of market incentives and state intervention are required for successful industrialization. State-led industrialization scored initial successes on the social and economic fronts but was ultimately derailed by prioritizing socio-political expediency over profitability and the lack of a sustainable financing mechanism. Private sector-led industrialization helped diversify Zambia’s manufacturing export base while employment and domestic ownership of the economy have suffered. Successful industrial firms are not about whether they are state or private sector-led. It is about their productive efficiency, technological dynamism, product quality and management practices.
Industrialization may be the uncrowned King of Zambia’s economic transformation but the people of this country are our greatest resource. Ultimately, it is them who will own and deliver development. Successive governments have failed to give Zambians a more meaningful stake in our economy. Despite the leadership crisis in this country, it must be said, that a nation that blames its leaders for everything, surrenders the very essence of nationhood. The DF will provide leadership while acknowledging that we are all leaders… parents, teachers, farmers, medical doctors, engineers, lawyers and law-makers. When it comes to Zambia’s development, we all have something to offer and the DF government will solicit solutions to our problems from all sectors of society. We will hold ourselves to the highest of standards in all endeavours and harness our greatest resource by superior work ethic, intelligence and innovation.
Our beloved Zambians, on August 11, the die shall be cast. A vote for the DF-Orange Alliance is a vote for fresh, patriotic, 21st Century Zambian leadership. Together we can materially change Zambia forever!
God bless you all.
Miles Bwalya Sampa
DF & Orange Alliance President