INFORMATION and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya says Zambians should desist from talking about the current economic crisis as it is hurting the Zambian brand.
Speaking on Smart Eagles’ “Round Table Talk”, Siliya, who is also Chief Government spokesperson, said negative messages about the country’s economy and governance were hurting the country’s standing on the international scene and ultimately affecting ordinary citizens.
“So, when someone Googles Zambia today, what will they have found out? I agree with Felix Mutati who recently said let us stop making noise about the economy because we are actually hurting the Zambian brand, because everything we Google about ourselves means that…this is what we are communicating. ‘No, there will be mayhem after elections’, we are telling people that don’t come to Zambia, there are problems, don’t bring investment, and who suffers? Zambian young people,” Siliya said.
She Zambians should use the forthcoming World Communications Forum Africa to be hosted in Zambia to sell the country’s potential to the rest of the world.
“Everything we do in life is about communication, on a personal level, on an organisation level, on a community level, even on a national level. This conference will be held in Africa for the first time at Bonanza on the 24th and 25th of November. I think it is a real score for Zambia. I think what we do right is the messaging that we send to the world, that we are a peaceful country, we are a loving people. You will be interested to know that this conference will have panels; one of the panel [will look at] country branding; if someone Googles Zambia today, what are we communicating? Are we communicating that we are a peaceful people, we are a loving people, we are a hardworking people or when somebody Googles Zambia today, are they just going to find ‘Oh, these people are just always fighting, the politicians are always insulting each other’. So we felt that maybe if we re-tell our story and getting this honour to host the African Conference on World Communication, we thought it is an opportunity for us Zambians to tell our story properly, to be able to brand our country properly,” Siliya said.
“There will be a panel on national branding, there will be a panel on communication for peace keeping, there will be a panel on media as a tool for development, there will be a panel on how [to] communicate in a crisis. Everybody in the world has gone through a crisis; we have gone through an energy crisis, everybody in the world is going through an economic turbulence. How do we communicate and provide confidence to our people in this situation but also to the rest of the world that we are a resilient people, we have been through problems before and that we will be able to manage? This forum is about communication in totality.”
“This meeting is bringing professional communicators, influencers, bloggers to one platform and say post-COVID or even with COVID as the new normal, how do we redefine communication so that it becomes profitable at a personal level, at an organizational level, but most of all at a national level, because all the messages we send out online, they are not going away. Somebody sitting in Tahiti, sitting in Kuwait, sitting in America will read those messages about Zambia, what are we selling? Are we selling that we are a country ready for investment? Are we selling that we are hardworking people? Are we selling that we are intelligent people? So, it is not only just government responsible for Zambia’s branding, every citizen who is posting something, they are participating in the branding of Zambia,” said Siliya.
“So this is a platform to tell our story as Zambians. If we don’t tell our story, other people will tell it for us. We will read Bloomberg, we will read the Economists, we will watch CNN and they will tell our story for us. Let us use this platform to tell a positive story about us.”