Poverty in Zambia

My interest in the topic Zambia’s Poverty levels stems from both a practical and theoretical awareness that something has gone horribly wrong in the economic balance of our nation. Poverty is an adversary that strongly exists in Africa and if we are to bridge the excruciating gap between the rich and the poor in Zambia we need to address the elephant in the room.

Zambia has been deemed one of the poorest countries in Africa and I believe if we educate ourselves and stand together to fight a common enemy we can win. In light of this fact, what can we as a country do about poverty levels in Zambia, to ensure that the next generation will have a fighting chance?

We know that the increase in income disparities are created when opportunities are not equitably spread as the economy grows. Zambia’s economy and population has increased over the years and so have poverty levels but what can be done to alleviate poverty in Zambia? A vast number of solutions have been brought forward on how the issue of poverty can be dealt with, some being the Zambian Government Development Plan 2017 and the Sustainable Development Goals which were coined together in September 2015.

The Zambian government has come up with its 7th Development Plan 2017-2021 called “Accelerating Development Efforts Towards Vision 2030 Without Leaving Anyone Behind”. This plan consists of 5 pillars:

  1. Economic diversification and job creation
  2. Poverty and Vulnerability
  3. Reduced developmental Inequalities
  4. Enhancing Human Development
  5. Conducive Governance Environment for Economic Diversification

The strategy of this plan is to create a diversified and robust economy that will sustain social economic growth and development. Not only this but available to us are the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

What are Sustainable Development goals?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030 are a universal call to action to alleviate poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs work in the spirit of pragmatism and partnership to make the correct choices that will benefit the future generation and improve the quality of life.

The seventeen Development goals include;

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean Energy
  8. Decent work and Economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

These SDGs are being used and integrated by most African countries into their Development plan to create more tangible out comes for their people. As is with Zambia, SDGs are visible as well in the Zambian development plan. With the Zambian Development plan and the SDGs, can we actually make a difference and reduce the levels of poverty by 2030 in Zambia?

If we are to achieve change and succeed with the SDGs and ZDP we need to priorities communal progress.  How do we do this? by ensuring that our leaders do not only focus on increasing the wealth of the country and improving its performance but by focusing on the well-being of Zambian citizens. These plans should not be dismissed but taken seriously and be executed well through proper management and distribution of resources. Not only this but we as citizens should educate ourselves and spread this knowledge so we can hold our leaders accountable and ensure that positive change is implemented. We ought not to dismiss mediocre performance just because we live in Africa but demand positive change, progress and results from our leaders. It starts with us, how much do you know of what is happening in your province and what you can do to impact positive change? If we focus on what needs to be done we can accomplish these goals as a nation and alleviate poverty in Zambia.

Sulwa Nakazwe

Business Information Systems Analyst

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