NO one -- be it the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank or bilateral donors -- will develop Zambia for us.
Not even the most charitable and generous Scandinavians who have for a very long time made very fine use of their deep pockets to support our struggles will develop Zambia for us.
And although no country in the world can today solve all its problems by itself, the onus to develop our country lies squarely on our shoulders and those of our leaders.
It is not the responsibility or duty of the IMF and the World Bank to develop our country for us. They should just be there to aid our own efforts. Probably that is why they have never taken responsibility for the failures of their policies and programmes in our country and have heaped blame on our politicians and civil servants.
And John Mwanakatwe is justified in not believing that the IMF and World Bank will do anything for us.
Although concomitant and effective international co-operation is an essential factor for the full achievement of its own development goals, the responsibility for the development of every country rests primarily upon itself.
This means it is our duty, not that of the IMF and World Bank, to set our own development priorities, plans, policies and programmes.
It also means that our co-operating partners and lenders should assist us in conformity with the development policies, objectives and priorities set out by our government and they should work towards making a positive contribution to the achievement of such goals.
But as things stand today, the policies and programmes we are pursuing have been formulated and designed for us by officials of the IMF and World Bank. We know they have consistently denied this, but this is the truth. They are the real governors of our country. But they know that this is not acceptable and that is why they will never acknowledge this fact, the fact that they are the ultimate rulers of our country.
There’s need for us to regain our sovereignty over the management of our country’s economic affairs. It is not acceptable for us to lose our country’s sovereignty over a debt of just over $6 billion - a debt that is even questionable. Whatever co-operation we have with the IMF and World Bank should be such as to further our independent national development and should be based upon our sovereignty over our country’s economic affairs. Otherwise we are just wasting our time because nothing positive will come out of our engagement with these two Bretton Woods sister institutions.
But for our government to look at things this way, to do what Mwanakatwe and his colleagues used to do with IMF and World Bank policies and programmes which did not fit in their scheme of things -- refuse to accommodate them and Cabinet would agree with him -- requires the support of the great majority of Zambians. It requires a government that respects the wishes and interests of the Zambian people and puts them above those of the IMF and the World Bank. It requires a government that has faith in the Zambian people and one that is infinitely loyal to them and one that ensures that their interests reign supreme. A government that has hired itself out to the IMF and World Bank as a guinea pig for the testing of their neo-liberal economic models and other simulations cannot do this.Until we start to see things for ourselves and do things for ourselves and not for the sake of meeting some IMF or World Bank conditionality, nothing much will be achieved for our people, especially the over 80 per cent who live in extreme poverty.
And as old Mwanakatwe has aptly put it, "I don't believe that IMF and World Bank will do everything we want to do as Zambia or on the style and kind of priorities we would want to adopt.".
SOURCE: THE POST - Editorial Comment