Divine Intervention as a Development Strategy

First we had the mayor of Jackson, MS urging his constituents to pray that the numerous potholes in the city get fixed.

yarber-tweet-about-potholes

and now we have the President of Zambia calling for a national holiday for people to pray for the economy and the falling currency.  Ha–like the government doesn’t have anything to with either of these phenomena!

Bloomberg reports the following about the Zambian economy:

a.  The currency, the kwacha, has lost 45% of its value against the dollar in the past year.

b.  “Zambians have been forced to endure power cuts of as long as 14 hours a day in Lusaka as drought caused water levels to drop at Lake Kariba hydropower plants, which supply the nation with almost half of its electricity. Dry weather has also caused a 22 percent slump in production this year of corn, the staple food, boosting inflation.”

c. “Copper prices have dropped more than 20% in the past year, prompting companies such as Glencore Plc to consider shutting mines and fire thousands of workers. Zambia is Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal, which accounts for 70 percent of export income.”

d. “Since taking office in January following the death of his predecessor Michael Sata, Zambia has been beset by policy uncertainty and a weakening in spending controls that’s led to ballooning debt. The government has steadily raised its target for the budget deficit this year from 4.6 percent of gross domestic product to 6.9 percent.”

So what should a proactive and responsible government do when the economy is heading south?  Declare a holiday, urge people to pray for recovery, and make sure that no one works that day.  Hmm, economics is clearly not the president’s strong suit.  Here are some details:

Zambian President Edgar Lungu wants his people to pray for on a national day of devotion and fasting on Sunday to reverse a decline in the world’s worst currency and fix a litany of problems from plunging copper prices to electricity shortages.
All bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues have been instructed by the government to shut on the day, while the Football Association of Zambia has canceled domestic games.”

Just when you thought you had hit rock bottom with icon-based development…

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