Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme, MP, has called for the preservation of natural resources to maximise the value and benefits from them.
Mr Chiteme was delivering a keynote speech at the World Bank’s eighth Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystems Services (WAVES) Annual Partnership Meeting in Paris, France on Wednesday.
Mr Chiteme thanked the World Bank for initiating the WAVES Programme, which will enable countries to account for their natural resources.
“We joined the WAVES programme voluntarily and we are making a lot of progress. We are now learning how to appreciate our natural resources,” Mr Chiteme said.
“Zambia is a low-income country, but we have a lot of lands, a lot of forests, water, and a lot of other natural resources, and biodiversity.
Our question has always been: how are we going to harness our resources? How are we going to put our figure to our resources? Fortunately, the World Bank started this programme, which is helping us answer these questions and move forward.”
The Minister regretted that Zambia has been a mono-economy, depending on copper, for a long time despite having numerous resources.
“We are a copper producing country and it’s the only resource that has been predominantly supporting our export earnings. I, therefore, want to thank the World Bank for this initiative; when we joined we said we want to account for our natural resources,” said Mr Chiteme.
WAVES Global Partnership brings together WAVES partners from developed and developing countries, high-level government officials, United Nations agencies, academics, and experts from think tanks and non-governmental organizations at its Annual Partnership Meeting (APM).