President-elect Hakainde Hichilema’s reassurance that the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) is determined to restore Zambia’s rightful place as a bastion of peace and stability will enhance the country’s image in the eyes of the international community.
Yesterday, Mr Hichilema met four foreign diplomats accredited to Zambia and assured them that his administration will restore the country’s rightful place as a bastion of peace and stability.
Mr Hichilema hosted Anne Wagner-Mitchell (Germany), Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury (Finland), Anna Maj Hultgård (Sweden) and Antonio Maggiore (Italy) at his New Kasama residence in Lusaka.
He said his Government will continue with bilateral and multilateral talks focussing on building an economy that will provide jobs, food and positive change for all Zambians.
The President-elect further expressed his commitment to respect of human rights and upholding of individual freedoms and liberties.
The meeting with the diplomats provided Mr Hichilema an opportunity to send a clear message to the international community that a new era has dawned in Zambia.
This will serve to build confidence in the international community regarding the new President’s willingness to align the country with expectations of the global community.
Additionally, this will serve to prepare ground for the new President’s plan to engage financial lending institutions to discuss the country’s unsustainable debt situation.
In his first Press briefing after being declared winner in the August 12 presidential elections, Mr Hichilema said the UPND administration will meet lending institutions over Zambia’s high debt, some of which was accrued wrongly and incompetently.
Meeting the country’s lenders to possibly negotiate a sustainable debt repayment plan will only produce desirable results if the new Government wins the support of foreign diplomats accredited to Zambia who are critical in the country’s engagement with the outside world.
Not only that, sending a clear message through such meetings right from the start of the UPND administration will also serve to build investor confidence and help Zambia to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which will boost the country’s economy.
So far, President Hichilema’s resounding victory has continued to have a positive effect on the economy, with the local currency appreciating.
After the general elections results were declared, Bloomberg reported that the appreciation of the Kwacha was the highest since 2015 while the Eurobonds due in 2024 jumped by almost 10 per cent to 73.56 cents on the dollar in London, representing the biggest gain since April 2020.
The appreciation of the local unit has even started impacting practices of commodities even before the President-elect is inaugurated and a new Cabinet appointed.
It is only hoped that Mr Hichilema will continue with his positive engagements as he strives to implement his campaign promises of improving Zambia’s economy by lowering the cost of doing business, fighting corruption and fixing broken systems.