Thursday, November 22, 2007

Balance focus on poverty reduction and economic growth, advises Phumap

Balance focus on poverty reduction and economic growth, advises Phumap
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

Visting World Bank vice-president for human development, Joy Phumaphi has said Zambia should balance its focus on poverty reduction and economic growth. And Phumaphi said Zambia is now in a better position to aggressively get contracts and investments that will favour local people and the economy.

In an interview in Lusaka on Tuesday, Phumaphi said Zambia must continue focusing on the diversification of the economy in order to establish itself in the global market. She said economic growth and poverty reduction should complement each other.

“You cannot just focus on poverty reduction and access to social programmes such as increased education, sanitation and water and health without addressing economic growth,” Phumaphi said. “You need to address them on both fronts.”

She observed that Zambia had focused on creating opportunities for economic growth through exporting products and the improvement of commercial agriculture. She added that there was need to continue the diversification in the mining sector beyond copper and nickel.

“You export a lot of timber; you should focus on trying to turn that timber into finished products, but finished products of quality that can be exported to other parts of the world.

You grow a lot of food products; you need to focus on processing those food products so that you don’t only export the food in its raw form but also process it according to the market needs of the global community,” she urged.

Phumaphi also urged the Zambian government to negotiate for contracts that would benefit Zambians.

“I feel that developing countries particularly in the past decade or so, have managed to communicate very clearly to the global community that they want to have control over their own resources.

So in the same way, Zambia is in the position where it can negotiate contracts, whether they are mining concessions or contracts with companies that are engaged in production that will favour the Zambian people and economy,” said Phumaphi. “The question of aggressively getting the contracts that will favour the Zambian people and economy is possible.”

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