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Hichilema calls for mindset change, hard work to fight poverty

President Hakainde Hichilema has called for mindset change among Zambians for them to embrace hard work in fighting poverty.

President Hichilema says it is his desire that economic growth takes centre stage in his administration in order to reduce poverty in the country.

Mr Hichilema said Zambia has no choice but to fully focus on the economic recovery agenda.

The President says his government has an ambitious target to meet three million tons of copper produced in the next decade.

He was speaking in Lusaka today at the first ever economic growth forum which government and the International Growth Centre have co-hosted.

The forum, which is under the theme, ‘delivering economic growth for Zambia,’ is focusing on the agriculture and mining sectors as well as governance, with a particular concern on how the two industries link with job creation and poverty reduction.

The Head of State also stated that agriculture should not just be looked at in terms of production but productivity, which he said connotes efficiency.

He has further noted that there is need to connect agriculture to climate change, emphasising the need to plant trees.

And President Hichilema has said the attitude and work ethic of the public sector is key in attaining economic growth.

“The public sector historically, if it does not function, it would drag us down. And I am sure in our conversations, the Secretary to the Cabinet knows the specifics that we need to work on in order to unlock the rigidity in the system,” Mr Hichilema said.

Speaking at the same event, Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, said the country, through the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP), has outlined a number of economic and governance issues that are aimed at making the economy function effectively.

Dr Musokotwane said one of the biggest challenges being faced is creating sustainable livelihoods to tackle poverty, which the 8NDP is desiring to achieve.

The minister however said government stands ready to learn despite having the development plan and other programmes already in place.

“We look forward to hearing some of those experiences. But we also look forward to specific suggestions on what we need to do on top of what we agreed in our own programme,” Dr Musokotwane said

Meanwhile, International Growth Centre (IGC) Executive Director, Jonathan Leape, said the centre’s goal is to help governments learn faster, through close ongoing collaborations between policymakers and researchers.

Professor Leape disclosed that IGC has been working closely with government on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

“Our most advanced engagement since we began almost a year ago, focuses on the CDF reforms and is built on a close collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government,” he said.