Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has fired Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, a statement from the presidency said Monday, as the economy grows at its slowest rate in 20 years.
Mwanakatwe, 57, was appointed only last year but was removed on Sunday without any reason given and replaced by central bank deputy governor Bwalya Ng’andu.
“I hereby terminate your appointment as minister of finance,” Lungu stated in his letter to Mwanakatwe according to the statement.
Ng’andu was sworn in on Monday, in a move welcomed by international investment markets with Zambia’s Eurobonds rising sharply. The price of its $750 million of securities due in September 2022 rose 5.2 percent on Monday, according to Bloomberg News.
African leaders at the African Development Bank meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, have agreed to prioritise the development of energy sources, with the maximum use of fossil fuel and coal, even as they advance important issues around climate change.
The leaders say the African continent cannot afford to miss out on the fourth industrial revolution, having missed out of industrial development in the past.
Light Up Africa
They observed that the greatest hitch to Africa’s development was lack of energy to power its growth and that the continent was tired of living in the dark.
An Anglo meeting they call it, with discussions focused on energy to light up Africa over the next decade and the impact of climate change on Africa.
Heads of government from all 54 African countries and beyond are interested in accelerated growth in the continent which has been hinged on energy, the absence of which Africa has remained behind in global development.
Amidst the need for development, climate change is a major concern.
Africa is said to be the continent that will continue to be affected as the global warming effects worsen, but the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said development must come first with Africa’s natural resources harnessed.
“For us here, development must come first.
“What we really need is for our fossil fuel solutions – coal fired plants, hydro-power- and that is why we are saying at this conference that you can’t de-emphasise our natural resource endowments, especially if we want to advance in technology.
“We must prioritise development because poverty kills thousands of people just as climate change does,” Professor Osinbajo said.
The Prime Minister of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa, stressed that there were also other needs that must be tackled to light up Africa and stem the impact of climate change.
Discussions so far at the meeting showed that African leaders will put steam to development on the continent with energy on the frontline, but they also have the task of persuading the rest of the world for more support in climate finance, expertise and technology.
That way development in Africa will go hand in hand with stemmed environmental impact.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has asked African nations to explore other sources of generating power.
He is also urging countries to device other means to move faster and unlock all the potential energy mix which lie untapped across the continent if Africa must meet the 10 gigawatts of electricity by 2020.
Light Up And Power Africa
Dr. Adesina told reporters on Monday at the 2016 AfDB meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, that Africa was currently seating on at least 11 terawatts of unutilised solar energy, 350 gigawatts of hydro and 150 gigawatts of wind power that must be unlocked.
He said proper planning of Africa’s power development was urgently required and attention must be paid to three key needs for power which are light, base load for industries and clean cooking.
Board of governors and officials from 80 member countries on the continent will converge over the next five days for the 51st AfDB’s annual meeting, with a key focus on energy and climate change. It will also focus on one of the regional bank’s high five priority areas which is to ‘light up and power Africa’.
Ninety-six per cent of Zambia’s nearly 2,400 megawatts of electricity is said to be sourced from hydro-power while Nigeria’s all time high of 4600 megawatts comes from hydro-power and gas.
In both countries, as in other African countries, other sources of power such as solar, coal, biomass, lignite and oil remain largely untapped.
With the 10 gigawatts target for Africa by 2020, African countries must hasten to meet the ‘light up and power Africa’ objective with the support of the African Development Bank.
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello has congratulated Africa’s third best Hockey Club, Niger Flickers Hockey Club for its exploits at the just concluded African Cup of Club Championship held in Lusaka, Zambia.
Governor Bello’s congratulatory message was contained in a press release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Jibrin Baba Ndace.
He said that the feat achieved by the club was worthy of recognition as the Flickers has made the state and country proud by proving its worth among other top rated African hockey clubs that participated in the tournament.
The Governor said that the state government was happy with their achievement even though the team did not win the coveted trophy, adding that the team would build up on the progress so as to surpass it in the subsequent championships.
He commended the club for giving out their best and coming back to the country with a medal which has shown that government support did not go in vain.
The Governor added that the government would continue to give support to sports sector as youth empowerment was part of his administration’s policy.
He applauded the technical crew, players and officials of the club for their achievement and success recorded.
Before clinching the bronze medal, Niger Flickers defeated Zambian male hockey team 10-2 before losing to Eastern Company Cairo, Egypt 4-2.
The team reached the semi-final and lost to Shakiya Hockey Club, Egypt 7-3, and in the 3rd place, Flickers defeated their counter part from Ghana, Trustee Hockey Club 3-2 in a keenly contested battle.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths Empowerment and Sports Development, Ramatu T. Suleiman, visited the team and delivered the governor’s address which served as a morale booster to the team.
Voting began on Tuesday for the next president of Zambia, one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets, in what shaped up as a tight race between a populist lawyer and a wealthy economist.
Edgar Lungu, leader of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is seen having a slight edge over main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman whose United Party for National Development (UPND) has won over the middle-class and investors.
The two candidates had promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the country.
The winner would serve out the remaining 18 months of Michael Sata’s term as Zambia is due to hold a general election in 2016.
Former President, Michael Sata, passed away in October 2014 and Vice President Guy Scott became acting President of Zambia.
Observers have said that the election has been largely peaceful.
Counting of the ballots would begin shortly after polls close with results due to be announced within 48 hours.
Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo. Its mining sector had experienced a boom in recent years with the economy averaging a 6 to 7 percent growth.
It however slowed to to 5.5 percent in 2014 from being one of the world’s best performing economies.