The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has selected Zambia as one of the 60 pilot countries for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Accelerator Labs, an innovative initiative which is expected to contribute to achievement of the SDGs.

According to a statement issued by Ministry of National Planning spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba, Sunday, this came to light when the Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme paid a courtesy on UNDP’s new Director for the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) Ahunna Eziakonwa, on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on the Emergence of Africa (ICEA) in Dakar, Senegal.

“Ms. Eziakonwa assured Hon. Chiteme of UNDP’s continued support towards Zambia’s development agenda. Ms. Eziakonwa commended Zambia for its political stability in the region, which is an asset in development. In line with the theme of the 2019 International Conference on Emergence of Africa, Ms. Eziakonwa acknowledged that Zambia was among the first few countries to promote local content strategies for private sector development. The UNDP regional chief emphasised the need to grow local entrepreneurs into national champions, including creating an enabling environment for youth participation in private sector development. And Hon. Chiteme congratulated Ms. Eziakonwa on her appointment and called for continued collaboration between Zambia and UNDP,” Chibaula stated.

“The Minister informed Ms. Eziakonwa that, as a lower middle-income country, Zambia’s macroeconomic situation is improving, with the 2018 economic growth estimated at 4 per cent from a low 2.9 per cent in 2015. Inflation has been contained within the 6 per cent to 8 percent target range, closing the year 2018 at 7.9 per cent from the high levels of 22 per cent in February 2016. Hon. Chiteme informed the UNDP Director for the Regional Bureau for Africa that Zambia was implementing its 7th National Development Plan (7NDP. The Hon. Minister underscored the fact that the Plan had mainstreamed the SDGs up to 86 percent alignment. Hon. Chiteme called on the UNDP for continued support and collaboration in the implementation of the 7NDP, and SDGs, strengthening national capacities in monitoring and reporting systems, including formulation of the Zambia SDG Baseline Report. This Report will inform preparation of the Zambia National Voluntary Review (NVR), planned for presentation at the 2020 High Level Political Forum at the United Nations.”

Meanwhile, at the Third International Conference on the Emergence of Africa, Chiteme was the moderator for the Ministerial panel discussion that focused on championing access to finance and strategies to attract Foreign Director Investment (FDI) in Africa.