By Fanny Kalonda
FORMER education minister Michael Kaingu has wondered what is wrong with African countries that they are stuck and cannot develop on their own with all the resources around.
He says countries like Japan and Singapore have developed without natural resources but just human resource.
Dr Kaingu wondered whether it was Zambia’s educational system, laziness or comfort zone from America and Europe that the country cannot develop using its resources.
“I have been in politics for quite a long. I have been a member of parliament for 10 years and a cabinet minister for eight years. I know and I have seen how rich our country is and how our policies have failed to dig out the abundant resources we are endowed with. Zambia is a vast country divided into 10 provinces and each province is rich and endowed with natural resources. In fact, each province has a capacity to determine its own destiny. Each province has a capacity to deliver more than $1.3 billion as contribution to the national treasury. What is then the problem?” he wondered. “Maybe before we answer this question, let’s look at the economies of selected small countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia. What natural resources do they have other than human resource? How did they manage to transform themselves into the first world? Japan for example, is a mountainous island with completely no or few natural resources. How did it become so rich? Going back to our question: what is really the problem? To answer this question, we have to ask several questions. Who has developed each of those countries mentioned above? Is it the Americans or Europeans? The answer is, their own nationals. How much money was borrowed by those countries from the IMF or the World Bank? If it’s true the nationals of those countries built their economies then what is wrong with us? Is it our educational system? Is it laziness or comfort zone we get from our big sisters (America and Europe)?”
Dr Kaingu noted that countries with less tourism than Zambia are surviving on tourism and wondered where the country was missing it.
He said even with the water and land, agriculture is not being capitalised on adding that African countries should look at the good examples of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and late Tanzanian president John Magufuli.
“Do we have the capacity on our own to transform our natural resources into wealth? Where is the problem? Honestly, can’t our copper mines give our national treasury $1.3 billion per year? If they can’t then what are we in it for? What about other minerals (cobalt, emeralds, gold, manganese etc), can’t we get $1.3 billion from them yearly? If we can’t then how much do we get? Where does the problem lie? We have the land and water, what is happening to our agriculture? Are we scratching? If we are why?” asked Dr Kaingu. “Countries with less tourism resources live on tourism. What is wrong with our tourism? Where are we missing it? I will not touch other sectors like transport, construction and trade. What is wrong with African countries? What is wrong with the nationals of African countries? Are we stuck and what makes us stuck? Is Paul Kagame and Rwanda or late president Magufuli and Tanzania a good example!”