Tag Archives: Zambia

Power to the people

A book about hydropower in Zambia might not make your list of “must read” titles, but if you care about the climate emergency, then there are two reasons to take note. First, we need practical and sustainable global solutions to power generation in the developing world. Second, “The Political Economy of Hydropower Dependent Nations: a case study of Zambia” is written by Liberal Democrat Dr. Imaduddin Ahmed and therefore worthy of your attention.

This book makes grim reading for hydropower enthusiasts: climate change is causing drought and emptying reservoirs. Drought is therefore causing power supply disruption, making it hard for nations wishing to diversify into manufacturing and away from relying on mining or subsistence agriculture. When there are frequent outages, manufacturers and others use highly polluting diesel generators. (Anyone spending time in Africa will be familiar to the rattling drone and greasy smell of generators that supply as much as a fifth of the continent’s energy).

Hydro plants can also have a devastating effect on biodiversity and communities living in the way of projects. Anyone following the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam saga will know that trying to monopolise the Nile (or Turkey’s plans for the Tigris and Euphrates) has brought several countries downstream to the brink of violence.

For decades the World Bank applied a template for development based on the Tennessee Valley Authority, an FDR-era project that revolutionized the lives of millions of poor Americans. Put simply, the TVA stimulated a consumer boom for US-made products and created employment. The World Bank then imposed the TVA model on countries with no domestic manufacturing base, meaning that America had new export markets for its goods.

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Zambia: one too many close calls for democracy?

Zambia 1Democracies in the developing world must often overcome a number of hurdles on the road to maturity and development as a stable state. Peaceful elections, a vibrant civil society, regular transfer of power, and fair service delivery are all key indicators of democratic development. No doubt, differences in the maturing of democracies should be considered based on local realities, and a so-called Western roadmap must not be the only lens through which we view this development.

But has the southern African country of Zambia, rich in copper and with plentiful tourism potential, had one too many close calls in its democratic development? Does Zambia and its people need to rethink their political path?

The most recent August 11th elections certainly give that impression.

This year’s General Elections resulted in the incumbent Edgar Lungu (Patriotic Front – PF) winning the presidential race by just over 2.5%, enough to avoid a second-round run-off. The liberal opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), led by Hakainde Hichilema, also lost the last presidential by-election by a mere 27,757 votes. Those early presidential elections were called after the passing of former President Michael Sata in 2014. On the surface, these results appear to be a sign of political maturity, with an election called upon President Sata’s death and an apparently democratic process in place for political succession.

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone in Zambia, part 3

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat  International Development Minister has been visiting Zambia and blogging about her trip. In her first day she wrote about a UK-funded empowerment programme for adolescent girls. She followed that with an account of programmes in the rural south supporting education, health care, private sector development, social support, and reducing gender-based violence.

She spent the final day of her visit with the Minister for Gender, and together they launched 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence in Zambia.

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone in Zambia, part 2

Lib Dem international development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently on a trip to the southern African country of Zambia. Her first visit was to the capital, Lusaka, and to a UK-funded empowerment programme for adolescent girls.

Over to Lynne:

This programme is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills.

The girls I met told me they were learning about their rights as women. One 16 year old girl said she now felt more confident to say no to unwanted approaches from boys. Another said the girls now

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone on ending violence against women and girls in Zambia

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently visiting Zambia and blogging her trip for the Huffington Post. In her first post she writes:

My first visit since arriving in Zambia was to a UK aid adolescent girls empowerment programme in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital, Lusaka. This initiative is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills.

The girls I met told

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