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An Ode to a Fallen Statesman: ZCSMBA Mourns Dr. FTJ Chiluba

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ZCSMBA as with the rest of Zambia is morning the loss of the country’s second Republican President Dr. Frederick T.J Chiluba who passed away on 18th June 2011 and was put to rest on 27th June 2011. Dr. Chiluba has been referred to by many sections of our society as the” Father of democracy and economic Liberalization”.
This stems from the fact that Dr. Chiluba was one of the founder members of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (the MMD), a movement that successfully pursued the re-introduction of multi-party democracy from the then one party state rule under Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

Dr. Chiluba pioneered and led the transition into plural politics in 1991 ending Dr. Kaunda’s 27 year long socialist rule. Dr. Chiluba and the MMD Government immediately set to work on reviving the economy which was at its knees. Through the infamous Structural Adjustments Programme (SAP), the transition to a capitalist state saw a number of state-owned and run companies privatized. This led to massive job losses especially in the mining sector. This created a lot of anxiety amongst the Zambians most of whom did not understand, appreciate or fully grasp the repercussions of this ‘paradigm shift’.

The liberalization of the Zambian economy meant the growth of our economy was now in the hands of private sector. The Government though, had the daunting task of creating a conducive macro-economic environment for both local enterprises that started mushrooming due to people’s initiatives to make ends meet and the foreign direct investments that had to be attracted. It was no easy undertaking, needless to state. The Government needed all the help it could get from its impatient citizens and from the international community. With the blessing and support of the donor community, several reforms such as the financial sector and private sector development reforms were initiated by the Chiluba administration. The reforms lead to the restructuring and formation of many institutions, public and private.

With the many number of unemployed people on the streets, few formal employment prospects, the welfare of the enterprising Zambians had to take priority. Entrepreneurship needed to be harnessed and nurtured as the surest way of mitigating the high poverty levels. Entrepreneurship needed to be institutionalized. In this regard, the Small Enterprise Development Board (SEDB) was born out of SIDO in 1996. This has become the Zambia Development Agency’s MSME Directorate following a merger with 4 other institutions in 2006. In the same vein, another such institution that was created in the penultimate year of Dr. Chiluba’s presidency was the Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations (ZCSMBA), a private sector institution.

At a workshop for Small and Medium Business representatives from all the provinces, organized by the Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI), in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), held in Lusaka in June 1999, it was resolved that a National Body to represent, safe-guard and lobby for the interests of the micro small and medium business sector be put in place.

ZCSMBA (pronounced zac-simba) was thus founded as the apex body in January 2000 formed on the basic acknowledgement and support of the Government of the Republic of Zambia under Dr. Chiluba’s leadership, the Cooperating Partners / Development Agencies and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

ZCSMBA would like to remember the fallen Statesman for laying the foundation towards economic liberalization which, though painful and disdain from the start has seen the present economic growth our country is experiencing and the recognition of our MSME’s as the engine for economic growth.

May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.

Article By Giyani I. Sakala.
Last modified on Friday, 20 April 2012 15:28

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