Safaris and strategies: Zambia’s journey to develop an integrated financing strategy

As we taxi off the runway on our way to Lusaka, I sit in my chair reflecting on our journey to one of the most beautiful countries south of the Sahara, Zambia. We are on our way to an inception workshop. I am with Siv on this flight to Lusaka and as we fly over the Alps with its amazing mountain top snow, I turn to look at her. She is in the same reflective mood. Perhaps she is thinking about the same things as me—a journey to support an integrated financing strategy - a journey to navigate the challenges and tap into financing opportunities - a journey to join Zambia as she deepens her efforts to address one of her most compelling developmental challenges, land degradation.

I am excited about the journey as I recall some of the keys to successful resource mobilization--- at the core is the ability to systematically and strategically access, utilize and efficiently manage financing and investments--- for sustainable land management. So why an Integrated Financing Strategy?

Her Beauty and her Resources

Zambia has great resources such as land, forests, rivers, plants, animals and biodiversity. One of the most beautiful in the continent. The country is richly endowed with a wide range of indigenous energy sources, including hydropower, coal and renewable sources of energy. With major perennial rivers such as Zambezi, Kafue, Luangwa, Kabompo, Luapula, and Chambeshi. The Victoria Falls is a must see.

Inarguably, land resources are critical to the human, economic, social and sustainable development in Zambia. Key sectors of the economy depend on land. Notably, the agriculture, natural resources, tourism, trade, mining and energy sectors depend on land and are key drivers of economic growth and export revenues in the country. Land provides employment and source of livelihoods for many rural communities.

Her Challenge: The Resource Haemorrhage and its Impact

But, one of the most compelling developmental challenges today is land and natural resource degradation. Between 250,000 and 300,000 hectares of forest are lost every year. Deforestation, biodiversity loss and soil erosion produce negative environmental impacts, often worsening the effects of climate change and droughts, whilst generating huge economic and social costs that hamper the achievement of national development goals such as Vision 2030.

So the Integrated Financing Strategy embraced by the country is to build on ongoing country processes and programmes to address land/natural resource degradation challenges. Clearly, finance is not a panacea for all the challenges. It is one of the means only.

I woke up from these reflections as we got off the plane in Lusaka. I am excited. We were off to Chaminuka but the road is bumpy. The rains have been intense in Zambia these past weeks and have left big gullies in the road. The driver navigates the path road so well to avoid pot holes that we say “Zicomo” (thank you in Bemba). Perhaps, the bumpy road is a good reminder that, charting the path to the development of a financing strategy is not straight forward. There will be twists and turns.

On our way we see ostriches. Siv is excited. We both take pictures. In fact, the area is known for its wildlife and natural scenery for safaris. We plan to take one later. Not a bad idea after all. But as I reflected on the path to a strategy for financing, I see a semblance to safaris. Safari is an adventure, it is place to explore the known and the unknown, there are choices to be made, a mix of things to see, and nature’s beauty to enjoy. But going safari can be tough and rough. The road can be bumpy but exciting and gratifying. Same with strategies.

Well, all I can say now is welcome to Zambia. Come with us to explore the design of an Integrated Financing Strategy. The journey now begins.


potenta said…
zebras...i like them , but i've always wondered. they look like striped horses.

Are they in same family tree??