New York – The Zambian government has expressed confidence that its debt restructuring efforts, coupled with robust international support, will bring about a significant transformation in the country’s socio-economic landscape. Speaking at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during Zambia’s Second Voluntary National Review (VNR) presentation at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Ms. Lois Mulube, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, highlighted the positive impact of debt restructuring on resource allocation efficiency.
According to Ms. Mulube, the restructuring of Zambia’s debt, which amounts to US$6.3 billion, has laid a strong foundation for a transformative journey towards a brighter future. Furthermore, she emphasized that Zambia has made notable progress in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals over the past year.
To safeguard the most vulnerable sections of society, the Zambian government has implemented comprehensive social protection programs, said Ms. Mulube. Notably, the country has made strides in enhancing access to essential healthcare services, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Increased budgetary allocation for medicine procurement and improved supply chain management, she added, will boost the availability of essential medicines and supplies to over 66 percent of the population.
Education remains a priority for Zambia, and the government has undertaken various reforms to improve its quality and accessibility for all citizens, Ms. Mulube asserted. However, she acknowledged that the country continues to face systemic challenges in energy, information development, environmental sustainability, and job creation, which have hindered progress. Poverty and inequality persist as pressing development issues, but Zambia remains steadfast in its commitment to address these challenges head-on.
In a statement to the UN during the VNR Civil Society session, Ms. Glenda Mulenga, the Country Director of Sightsavers Zambia, called upon the Zambian government to enhance interim measures aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by marginalized groups. She stressed the need for improved health, education, and social safety nets to mitigate the impact of these inadequacies.