By Alexander Nkosi
Dear President Hakainde Hichilema,
Greetings my President. 100 days is a short period of time, it is only enough to get a better understanding of how government works and assembling a team. Beyond the 100 days, the assembled team embarks on graining a deep understanding of policies, programs, structures and systems and builds strong and evidenced based recommendations for reform. It is these policy and systems reforms supported by budgets that will yield outcome level results like stable and favourable exchange rate, low cost of living, increased economic activities and growth, more jobs and economic opportunities etc.
Given the state of the economy, we have to go through three stages: 1) halt negative trends 2) move into stabilisation 3) and finally move into sustained growth. This requires time and when communicating what the new dawn government has achieved, it is important to look at process, output and outcome results.
It is also important to note that stabilising macroeconomic fundamentals and having sustained growth will not automatically translate into low cost of living, empowered locals and poverty reduction. So while attaining sustained growth will be an important outcome, the process of achieving it will be key, hence where possible let us use locals to grow the economy. We need more initiatives like the expanded CDF. We also need a mix of strategies, some ‘out of the box’ strategies to go with conventional development strategies. Let us take advantage of the potential ZNS and ZCS have to launch mass agriculture production with ZNS units acting as satellite production hubs supporting youth cooperatives. With economic empowerment, let us look beyond monetary empowerment: some people only need linkages to good and stable markets while others can do with material empowerment like farms. In the tourism sector, youth cooperatives can partner with wildlife authorities to run private game parks in places like Samfya. Government puts in animals while cooperatives raise money to run these parks.
While doing all this, we also need a robust communication and rebranding strategy like Rwanda where we project the nation positively.
In conclusion, the first 100 days look good and I would urge you to use the good will you are enjoying to explain the extent of our economic problems and ask Zambians to sacrifice for a better tomorrow. This is the best time to make tough and painful decisions, there is no magic wand to fixing the economy, we have to go through the process. A good and robust communication strategy is key to get buy-in.
Thank you and wishing you success!