Zambia In Dire Economic Stress Due To COVID-19, Says Chikwanda

Lusaka ~ Wed, 18 Nov 2020

By Brightwell Chabusha

Former finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has said COVID-19 has disfigured the global socio-economic scenarios and Zambia has not been spared.

Mr. Chikwanda said COVID-19 has merely compounded and exacerbated matters.

The former minister added that the human race faces multi-dimensional challenges and that it is gross folly for any country to think that it can avoid the “dire” need for global solidarity which the coronavirus compels to foster with enhanced resolve.

He said economies in less developed countries like Zambia were already under severe stress because of low commodity prices resulting partly from American-induced trade wars.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chikwanda noted the mismatch between Zambia’s population explosion and the country’s overall development endeavours in the almost six decades of the independent nationhood.

Mr. Chikwanda said Zambia’s population leaped from 3 million at independence to about 18 million now.

He said even as government pushed a transformative development agenda, overwhelming challenges still remain to be tackled.

Mr. Chikwanda who was minister from October 2011 to September 2016 said poverty is the greatest hindrance to meaningful sustainable growth.

“And now the challenges. Zambia’s population has leaped from 3 million at independence to about 18 million now. This is a six-fold increase in 56 years and there is a total mismatch between the population explosion and our overall development endeavours in the almost six decades of our independent nationhood. Thus, poverty levels have been accentuated instead of reducing. Currently, adversities in the global economy which in turn have occasioned acute paucity of available foreign currency reserves have induced apparently inexorable downward spiralling in the kwacha parity. With high volumes of imports, this process has unsatisfactory inflationary consequences which compound hardships especially for segments of our population who have no leeway for belt tightening as the belts have long snapped,” he said.

“Even as the patriotic front (PF) has vigorously pushed a transformative development agenda to far-flung areas of our country which have not seen any form of development from time immemorial, daunting challenges still remain to be tackled – poverty which is entrenched by extremely low wages below the minimum it takes for even the most modest of living, is itself the greatest hindrance or inhibition to meaningful sustainable growth. Poor people have no purchasing power and, in any economy, growth and development are only meaningful and sustainable when they are consumer driven.”

He however stressed the need for need greater resolve and structured intellectual tools from political leaders to address the issues of poverty.

He added that the country needed to pool resources, particularly intellectual ones, to get the country to move sustainably forward.

Chikwanda said “it is amazing” how focused and determined individuals can use the smallest of resources to uplift themselves.

“The biggest failure of the political systems on the continent of Africa and even more pertinently here at home in Zambia is the lack of recognition that people as individuals must be active participants to ensure progress in the development process. From the onset of our independence we have intensifies myth making and elaborate re-cycling of sloganism. We were very good at developing false hopes in the united national independence party (UNIP) and regrettably we passed on this adverse culture to subsequent ruling and opposition parties in the new dispensation of plural politics. From day one, we should have created a lasting perception in people that they are the determinants of progress and that there will never be a government which will have resources other than what citizens individually and collectively create or generate,” he said.


  1. Kingfred N. Kapomba

    This is an eye opener, we have lagged behind in terms of development and if not careful we will remain behind, the PF government shouldn’t be distracted from their developmental agenda, Zambia’s population has increased 6 folds but what of our infrastructure?
    It’s high time politician told people the truth that we all have to be involved to develyour land.
    Covid19 has done is bad but it should be a wake up call for us.

  2. burton chita

    this is what is refered to as keeping in touch with social realities, population explosion -unplanned pregnancies, teen age pregnancies have contributed to the six fold increase in population and yet when budgeting or census these citizens are not even accounted for, only the urban areas are captured leaving the remote areas out of the context

  3. burton chita

    This is what is refered to as keeping intouch with social realities, do we account for rural populations who have no access to health facilities, unplanned family strctures, girlchild, all these have contributed to population expelosion competng for very few resources from a narrow reosurce base

  4. Lethal Weapon

    No sir ba Chikwanda….this country was already in dire economic stress even before covid-19….besides k 1.3 billion kwacha meant to fight covid was stolen by your p.f chaps….too much stupidity in this regime, we need a Jerry Rowling’s type of cleansing.

  5. Diaspora

    Rhodesia was isolated in 1965 but saw itself become self reliant even exporting maize to the region. Our situation has nothing to do with Covid. If anything money has poured in thanks to Covid but has been stolen. Please stop sugar coating a crisis. National reserves have been depleted. Fire engines, bridges , roads have become a conduit for stealing from the nation. The full effects of the damage PF have done to our country will be felt even by our great grand children. We need an electoral college voting system to stop kaponyas like Bowman, and cadres determining the destiny of this country. Yes…we need the Jerry Rawlings (RIP) type or Kagame to save this nation…

  6. Lethal Weapon

    Jerry Rawlings cleansing….those who don’t know what he did,read the political history of Ghana….we need that with these punks.

    • Asoza

      Lethal weapon….you know what you are talking about…thanks!

  7. Makuu

    Electoral college voting system is not good for democracy. Read about it’s disadvantages. Don’t just copy and paste. Democracy is about popular vote and not about the elite votes.

    • Asoza

      Democracy can only benefit a country if voters know what the country needs to develop. The majority can even destroy a country. The genocide in Rwanda was based on the whims of the majority. Africa is not ripe for so called democracy because the uneducated vote for chutenges and chibuku. They vote on tribal Libes. That is why we are where we are!

    • Driver

      The electoral college does not necessarily pit the elite versus the masses. If we had the electoral college system here one province would not carry the day due to numbers. A province with less people would have an influence on the outcome of an election. When we had 9 provinces and each province allocated 10 electoral votes, the election of say a President would need at least 5 provinces for him to win. That is representation. Right now CB, Central and Lusaka can see a President elected without the voice of the rest of the provinces. That is not democracy.

      • Diaspora

        You are right Driver. Right now politicians do not care about Western Province because even if they lose there the population means very little to the votes cast. But the Electoral college system would elevate the voters there to determine who gets the Electoral vote regardless of the number of voters. If we were to adopt this politicians would be careful how they develop each province!

  8. Frank Chombela

    Alexander Chikwanda is architect of our misery. But he lacks the decency to say sorry, I got it wrong.


    My fellow economists on paper lets come out of hybernation and help this ailing government. Lubinda Habazoka where are you my friend?

    • Banja

      Habazoka is a cadre. Yes he may have a paper but like many educated Zambians their papers are where they end. . Roads are being constructed by Indians and Chinese. Bridges done by our engineers are collapsing. South Africa was not developed by PhD holders but by artisans who knew what they were doing! Zambia is putting universities everywhere instead of technical hands on colleges like the for ZIT. This is where were are going wrong.

  10. Wako

    AC you are the main instigator to all our problems. You did it twice to our country. You signed up for all this kaloba eurobonds without a plan. It is you and no one else to blame for taking our country backwards. These infrastructures you are bragging about doesn’t belong to us. The owners want there money and if you don’t pay them than they will grab everything. Where is your sinking fund you were talking about? The chickens have come home to roost. And you are to blame.

  11. Zedpeople

    Chikwanda you destroyed this economy like you did in during the Kaunda era. Please just enjoy your retirement while the country’s majority wallow in poverty.

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