We’re Borrowing to Empower the People, Says Chiteme

National Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme has said the government is borrowing not for consumption but to empower the people and invest in infrastructure.

Speaking at the UN and World Bank co-organised Ministerial meeting on strengthening Resilience to debt vulnerability in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Chiteme said striking the right balance between development financing and containing debt vulnerability needs an international multifaceted framework.

He said such a framework should address the debt vulnerabilities and policy dialogue while taking into account the country specific peculiarities and global perspectives.

He said it was not the fault of African countries that they borrowed but, in some instances, it was due to trade wars between the west and east.

“We have competing priorities in Africa: we need to provide health facilities, safe drinking water, educate our people etc but for us to do this we need financing. We are not borrowing to consume but to invest in our infrastructure and empower our people. We are borrowing to ensure that we have Africa tomorrow that is at the level that is acceptable for our people to live in and have a decent life,” Chiteme said.

He called for sustainable financing for developing countries like Zambia to achieve the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Chiteme further said drivers of debt could be attributed to global and country-specific factors.

“Global factors include commodity prices and global interest rates, while country specific factors include inappropriate fiscal regime, low GDP growth, volatile exchange rate, low institutional quality and political instability in some few cases,” Chiteme said. “Output shocks in commodities have adversely affected commodity exports and subsequently reduced revenues; weather related shocks, like drought in Zambia, reduced agriculture output, low hydro-energy output which put pressure on revenues through increased imports and the deficits have been covered by borrowing.”

And development planning permanent secretary Chola Chabala has assured the international community of its commitment to advance human capital development and empowerment of people with economic opportunities through social safety nets, as espoused in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).

Speaking on behalf of Chiteme at the 8th Annual Ministerial Roundtable on Social Safety Nets: Improving economic opportunities and human capital in changing world of work, during the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC USA, Chabala said social safety nets were important to the Zambian Government.

“We appreciate that poverty and vulnerability [do] not only affect the ability to put food on the table but also extend to access to certain essential services and citizens opportunities to be self-sustaining and contribute to economic growth,” he said.

Chabala explained that human capital development was a key catalyst to harnessing demographic dividend.

He emphasised the importance of using social safety nets in advancing economic opportunities.

Chabala expressed concern about the widening gap between the labour market demand and the training.

“We are [churning] out people from training institutions who are not able to fit into industry and that is perpetuating informalisation of the economy. From most experiences in Africa the informal sector is not broadly covered within the formal social protection schemes,” said Chabala on behalf of Chiteme. “People have to informally contribute …the informal contribution mechanism is not as compiling as it would if one was to be covered through statutory obligation through formal sector employment …the more the economy gets informalised, the more you lose out on comprehensively covering people.”



  1. FGM

    Borrowing to please the masses so as to cling to power for ever are the reasons behind, who doesn’t know.

  2. Razor

    More like borrowing to enrich your own pockets while the people remain paying the nkongole.

  3. Kascol

    Yah borrowing to empower and enrich themselves at the expense of poor Zambians!

  4. Mwale Z

    Today’s pharisees ad sadducees.who do u cheat?

  5. mr kambwili

    which empowerment👉 empowering their caders so that they can insult citizens

  6. wise

    You fool which empowerment,you should reason.go back to a community school and findout what empowerment means so you are not suppose to be in that office

  7. borrowing

    Stop borrowing in the name of empowerment,who can stand and say this is what I have done apart from putting into your pocket . Stop blinding the nation Zambia

  8. borrowing

    How much money are you getting at the end of a month,shame on you borrower ,stop it do it

  9. Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda

    Goats in sheepskins!,who doesnt know that all the borrowed money has landed in yo pockets.Sadducees & Pharisees of our time.Who can trust u now coz we all know that yo motive z just to become so rich & mek a commoner 2pay back the money thru more taxes.

  10. Gilbert kakulwa

    Please please, empower small and medium scales entrepreneur

  11. Jessen facts

    This minister is a nincompoop , is that a reason , u even don’t know the dangers of borrowing , u don’t that the can country lose many things which are too important due to this.

  12. Family Ma

    Borrowing in the name of empowering people but in reality you are just fattening yourselves and families idiots

  13. One love

    We should borrow to create businesses for our on,farming buying irrigation machine Centre pivotes,during kk school children used to bord free buses as long you are in uniform , ubz ,you buy machines for roads zns they can do better as long as there trained by Chinese engineers.

  14. Danielle Jensen

    Just like every nation has borrowed to improve their infrastructures. The most important issue is to borrow what we can afford to pay back and live within our means That’s so the future can also have the same option.

  15. LJ sikalumbi

    Which empowerment are you talking about,,,,,,,, don’t confuse empower and greed you guys the time you were not In power you were as poor as hell,,,boom finally you empowered yourselves,,,,,,,, through naming poor people

  16. David Ashely Juste Kalala

    What an insteresting discussion you had. Therefore, I hope the money borrowed will always targeted on the youth empowerment and development of the our country and Africa at large.

  17. Hev rena

    Well govt as u know empowers people by distributing cash to marketers, the old and vulnerable will not b considered because donors say we stole $40m.As for farmers we want them to b producing more than 100 bags for them to earn Atleast a k100,if they are lucky to b paid on time.

  18. Kings

    Hundred Parcent Kupuusa A Minister, Can That Be A Normal Person’s Words? Enriching Yourselves Is What You Call Empowerment? You Kongola And You Don’t Pay Back, Whats That Mr Chiteme? You Have No Vision You Guys, You ‘ll Eventually Sell Our Country To Those Landers Of Yours, Please Stop It, Tatutekela Icalo Munkongole Bane, That Is Intellectual Draught, You Don’t Mean Well To This Country.

  19. Christopher CJ Mutambo

    Can you please state out some of the programmes that you are Empowering coz I haven haven’t seen any. Stop Borrowing.

  20. bayoka

    Shame on you you are not pay farmers, what empower do you mean foolish enough.

  21. Amon

    What a lot of BS from this so-called Minister! How does our President live with this caliber of Ministers around him? Or they’re birds of the same feather! No vision for the country just for self.

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