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Chinese envoy advises 'struggling' Zambia to increase population

21 December 2015, 17:41

Lusaka - Zambia’s Centre for Reproductive Health and Education (CRHE) has reportedly castigated Chinese ambassador to the southern African country, Yang Youming, over his advice encouraging the nation to increase its population in order to boost the economy.

According to the Lusaka Times, Executive Director, Amos Mwale told the media that it was "unsavoury" advice for a country that was already facing social and economic problems.

Mwale said this, a day after Youming advised Zambia to increase its population in order to grow more opportunities in the economy.

Mwale criticised the idea, saying China should advocate for more sustainable solutions if they wished to help Zambia instead of giving inappropriate advice.

A lecturer at the University of Zambia, Francis Chigunta also weighed in, saying Zambia’s current economic situation could not afford a huge population as this would send millions into abject poverty, according to The Post.

Zambia's population currently stands at 15 million.

"While the Chinese ambassador’s argument is seemingly plausible, for us as a country, I think it doesn’t make sense really to have a large population because we are already struggling with a population which is only about 15 million," Chigunta was reported as saying.

"On the other hand, a poor country like Zambia cannot afford to have more babies because we will have too many mouths to feed given the already high poverty levels, it will be very difficult," he said.
Zambia is currently reeling under economic hardships, with the opposition blaming President Edgar Lungu and his administration for the meltdown.

Opposition leader and All People’s Congress party president, Nason Msoni, last week took a swipe at Lungu, saying he was the complete opposite to newly elected Tanzanian President John Magufuli.

Msoni said that in less than a month Magufuli had already been able to cut government expenditure in a pragmatic manner such as reducing the size of cabinet and making the discreet use of national resources a priority.

But Lungu, he said, was not serious  in his use of national resources, saying he still goes on trips to commission projects that can be handed over to someone

According to a recent Reuters report, however, Africa’s number 2 producer of copper was affected by the erratic production of electricity due to the water supply.

Countries such as Botswana and South Africa were also facing similar problems.

Lungu came into office early this year following a snap election in January after the death in office of president Michael Sata in October 2014.

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- News24


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