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Well, ladies and gentlemen; the numbers are in and our team has been working hard to be as accurate as possible. The verdict is clear, Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. has posthumously clearly won the Zambian Chronicle “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008.

 

Most people in our audience know that Zambian Chronicle was started last year as an alternative multi-media private enterprise committed to raising the standard, while increasing awareness not only in Africa but around the world and last year’s award went to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali president of Tunisia.

 

You can read more about last year’s award and conditions as well as modalities used to reach that consideration by clicking on this link; Zambian Chronicle’s African President of the Year (2007) Award Goes To President Ben Ali of Tunisia …

 

Last year Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. ended up in the top 7 presidents on the continent in critical areas but had a favorable rating ranking him in the overall top 5% percentile. We expanded this year’s recital parameters because we wanted rankings to include among other things performance based criterion during a president’s tenure apart from national indices only.

 

GDP per capita growth

Levy scored highest in the criteria because nominal GDP per capita growth is an important aspect of how well the general populace perform in a given economy. It has a direct bearing on how well the citizenry are benefiting from local economic growth.

 

Nominal GDP figures include less estimation and more accurately reflect the participation of the inhabitants of a country in the global economy as well. These figures are so important that each year three different organizations (IMF, World Bank and CIA) each come up with different ones.

 

In our analyses we used a grossing method that gave us weighted averages. So from the time he took over office to his death in 2008, LPM presided over a nominal GDP per capita growth that grew a staggering 300% from as low as $360 to $1,400.00. Of course the world best is over $44,000.00 but $1,400.00 was a great start for us.

 

This did not come by sheer luck, LPM and his team worked so hard that they negotiated outstanding public liabilities with donor nations and other ultra-vires creditors that they managed to wipe out our national debt from a staggering $7 billion to as low as $500 million.

 

Our own national reserves increased from zero at the time he took over to $1.4 billion. In fact as we report today, Zambia has FX reserves to protect against any outflows, says Central Bank Governor Dr. Caleb Fundanga …  In terms of percentage growth, the number is actually infinity because nothing can be divided into zero.

 

Gross official reserves include Bank of Zambia’s (BoZ) holdings of foreign cash, foreign exchange and foreign securities, Zambia’s reserve position at the IMF, and SDR holdings. Gross reserves data is compiled on daily basis by adding/subtracting transactions for the day to/from the previous day’s position.

 

These transactions cover all purchases and sales of foreign exchange, donor inflows, debt service disbursements, government and BoZ uses of foreign exchange, interest receipts and payments, valuation gains and losses and any other inflows and outflows.

 

There simply is no comparison as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area at all.

 

Transparency Index

This was the hardest of all parameter for us because data complied by Transparency International from 2000 to 2008 was different in many aspects. This is because the organization changed their reporting structure and added more variables in their indices that make up what they call Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

 

While in 2000 they only reported on 90 nations, for instance; they increased that to almost 180 for 2008. In 2000 Zambia shared the 57th position with Latvia but in 2008 despite being low, some of the variables were due to lack of enough raw data.

 

So, in certain areas if we used the same string of data from 2000 to 2008 as complied by Transparent International, a lot of flaws would have been discovered because in some instances we would have been comparing apples to oranges and the resultant would not have been either logical or asymmetrical.

 

So for us at the Zambian Chronicle we looked more at how general business practices improved on the ground within the Zambian Enterprise. We looked at the unprecedented bold decisions LPM took on the continent to an extend of striping of his predecessor immunity due to alleged past corrupt practices.

 

Never before had this ever happened on the continent of Africa but it showed his commitment to building a different nation that did not do business as usual. This earned him a lot of sway among western nations and increased his capital as a steward of good governance.

 

We looked at how he let the law take its course without interfering in any way possible despite all kinds of pressure from all avenues and forums … I am proud to report even pressure from us at the Zambian Chronicle at times, for instance.

 

We looked at how level-headed he was about graft and its other derivatives and found no comparison as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.

 

National GDP growth

This is not supposed to be confused with the nominal GDP per capita above. While the earlier has to do with individual(s) income and subsequent participation in a national economy the later has to do with the overall national economic growth.

 

GDP real growth has to do with the total goods and services produced and or consumed in a given year and it is the best measure of national wealth and a nation’s capacity to compete in terms of movement of goods and services.

 

Even more what we were interested in was not just GDP real growth but GDP (real) growth rate which shows the increase in value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. It does not take into account purchasing power parity neither does it account for inflation. It is a measure of economic development.

 

That real growth rate is extremely important because it is the one that eventually gives a nation the ability to surpass another or be replaced by another in terms of economic development and or ranking. For example, 100 years ago the economy of the United State of America and that of Mexico were the same size numerically.

 

However, the US economy grew by one more percentage point rate higher than that of Mexico each year for those 100 years and today America has the world’s largest economy while Mexico ranks as the 52nd.

 

Furthermore, China had been lagging behind most economies all the way through the 90’s until it turned its economic engines to supercharged status. Within 10 years, it surpassed the Italian, French, British and German economies because of having a reasonable real GDP real growth rate. Today it is the world third largest economy.

 

On the African continent, Angola has enjoyed the status of one of the fastest growing economies not only in Africa but in the world. For instance its growth rate in 2005 was over 19% making it the world’s second fastest growing economy. In 2007 its rate was over 16.30% making it the world’s third fastest growing economy.

 

But what makes the Zambian Chronicle vouch for Levy (LPM) was the fact that when he inherited the economy of the Zambian Enterprise we were actually experiencing negative growth rates more like Zimbabwe (-6%) this year.

 

What LPM did was to reverse the trend from such negatives to the extend of almost -7% in the late 90’s to a positive 8% last year. This means that LPM tenure presided over a turn around of almost 15% into positive territory. It is so much easier to keep an economy in positive territory as opposed to moving it from a negative to a positive one but Levy did it.

 

Somehow he turned non performing assets such as mines, some that were almost flooded because they had been inoperable for a long time into profit making enterprises for the benefit of all within the Zambian Enterprise.

 

He commissioned new ones such as Lumwana that spurred new economic activities even in forgotten places like North Western Province turning the area in a new Copperbelt with new discoveries ranging from Oil and Gas to Gold and new Uranium deposits.

 

We began to be a premier tourist attraction again like there was something wrong with us in the first place. He created a conducive environment for commerce to thrive by and for all and all of a sudden commercial flights were being diverted to Lusaka instead of Gaborone, Lubito and Harare.

 

All of a sudden Lusaka was were it was all at, as we saw Bill Clinton Jets Into Zambia while the Best Ever US Ambassador To Zambia – Carmen M Martinez was busy cozying our relations and Mrs Bush With Zambian Kids – PlayPump™ having fun.

 

We looked, compared and contrasted with any other president on the continent who turned economic activities around within such a short period and we found none. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.

 

Food security

With Levy at the helm, the Zambian Enterprise moved from being a donor recipient to a donor. Our enterprise moved from food shortages to Zambia to export 150,000 T white maize … as late as December 15, 2007 but today we will need to import a million tones.

 

Using government subsidies and proper farm produce marking strategies, Levy working in concert with his Minister of Agriculture then Mundia Sikatana created incentives within the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) that spurred agricultural production to unprecedented level on the continent of Africa.

 

Within his first term we had attained food security as well as sufficiency, were looking at donations and export for white maize a thing that had never happened in Zambian history. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.

 

Peace Index Analysis

For this analysis we used a qualitative assessment of the level of distrust in other citizens, ranked from 1-5 (very low to very high) by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Analysis team.

 

The lowest score (1) records that the majority of other people can be trusted and that there is an overall positive climate of trust in the country. The highest score (5) indicates that people are extremely cautious in dealing with others.

 

We found this unit of measure to be the most accurate and espoused it in totality and we were impressed to find that Zambia actually beat a lot of major western nations even when it comes to being a peaceful nation.

 

For instance, when Levy noticed injustices and what impact they had on peace in neighboring Zimbabwe, he was first to condemn Robert Mugabe calling the situation a “Sinking Titanic”. Never before had this ever happened in Africa where a sitting president openly rebuked another for the sake of world peace.

 

While Levy may not personally claim that big prize nationally as it had been passed on to him from his two predecessors, the very fact that he kept Zambia even more safe and improved on earlier released figures combined with other factors such as above is reason to give him first place on our continent by Zambian Chronicle.

 

We looked, compared and contrasted with any other president on the continent who turned economic activities around within such a short period and we found none. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.

 

Other World Social, Economic & Political Indicators

While different social, economic and political contexts were used in comparing crime data from societies that are fundamentally different and may ignore key issues present within the Zambian Enterprise that impact upon levels of reporting some similarities were drawn.

 

For example, different social norms in some countries may make it difficult for women to report cases of rape or sexual abuse, while in others; women are encouraged to come forward. The level of insurance coverage in a community is also a key indicator of the likelihood of citizens approaching the police as their claim for compensation may require such notification.

 

In addition, in societies where the police are or have been mistrusted by the population, most specifically during periods of authoritarian rule, reporting levels are likely to be lower than in cases where the police are regarded as important members of the community.

 

The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) is perhaps a more sensitive and accurate measure of crime – and arguably offers a picture of how the public views the criminal justice system – but is currently limited to a few, mainly industrialized, countries so these data are not included.

 

But what we found was rather shocking for a developing nation that the Zambian Enterprise actually ranked above average on the continent during Levy’s tenure. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.

 

Overall, for us it was not just a question of bias, it was more of logic, data analysis and factual that we were able to crown levy P Mwanawasa, SC with the honorable title of “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008 posthumously.

 

Long Live Levism, Long Live Levism, May Your Soul Rest In God’s Eternal Peace and congratulations for scooping this year’s Zambian Chronicle “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008.

 

Compliments of the Season, Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle 

 

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