How often does it happen? Electing a new president and in the space of a year, they revolutionize the country to the greatness that it was meant to be. Or maybe, as if that isn’t enough, name a president that consistently refuses to take up a fat monthly salary since they were elected. Food for thought!
Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in about a year ago in August. He has been at the helm of the revolutionary development that the country has been undergoing. He has outdone his manifesto and still looks forward to providing the best for the people of Zambia.
Can you imagine being sworn in as President, into a country having the world’s worst performing currency in 2021? If you search, the Zambian Kwacha is now the world’s second-best-performing currency.
Credit to President Hakainde Hichilema for leading his nation in a very capable manner. When he was sworn in, in August 2021, the country’s inflation rate stood at 25.6%. in his first year, he has reduced the inflation rate to 9.7%.
Zambia has a visionary leader. In the first year of his nation’s service, President Hichilema launched Africa’s largest nickel mine. The development is known as the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Enterprise Nickel Project and is worth $250 million.
It is estimated that the project will directly create more than 700 jobs and have tens of thousands of indirect beneficiaries. This will make Zambia Africa’s largest nickel producer and is expected to fuel the Zambian economy to greater heights in the future.
It is expected that once the mine is in full operation, it will produce 30,000 tonnes annually.
“The vision of Zambia moving from a brown energy to a green energy is slowly becoming a reality with such projects coming on board,” said Mr. Hichilema when launching the FQM Enterprise project a week ago.
“This project is important for our country, as it will create jobs for our people and food in homes, this is an important consideration for us when embarking on any project,” he said.
“We are ready to work with any and all that love progress to reduce poverty, create jobs and household income,” Mr. Hichilema said.
Furthermore, the Zambian president launched a $7.9 million fruit factory on 27th July 2022 emphasizing that his government is committed to Zambian business and manufacturing. The fruit factory will process a variety of fruits as well as other products such as beans, groundnuts and tomatoes, supplied by small-scale farmers.
Overall, the fruit processing plant, in partnership with over 1,500 small-scale rural farmers, will supply 24,000 tonnes of feedstock annually. It will provide 150 jobs to local people, as well as support over 780 jobs indirectly.
I must have mentioned that he refused to take up his monthly salary. For a year now, he has refused to take a salary but instead, he gives the money to fund government projects, which in the long run will model Zambia into a great country.
President Hichilema increased the salaries of his civil servants by 12% in February 2022. In addition, he is the first Zambian president to incorporate free education in primary and secondary schools throughout the country.
He has also hired a total of 30,476 teachers and has hired 11,276 Health workers. This is all in line with the manifesto of the ruling United Party for National Development (UNPD) spearheaded by Mr. Hichilema.
President Hichilema has performed wonders in 11 months. He managed to pay out all pending retirement benefits to retirees. He has reduced the yearly practicing license fees for Nurses and midwives from $23 to $6 in December 2021.
Furthermore, Mr. Hichilema increased the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from $97,000 to $1.56 million. He also restored freedom of the media to the country which was previously prohibited to some extent.
This has all been possible in just a year of President Hichilema’s ruling. He has more than proved that he is a great leader. At the end of his presidential term in 5 years, Zambia might be one of the most developed countries in Africa, if the President keeps up this commendable job. And perhaps he might be reelected once again if he vies for the seat again.
Point to note, the Zambian government’s foreign and local debt as at the end of 2021 stood at $31.74 billion including interest arrears.