Poverty Situation in Zambia

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From being one of the most prosperous countries in sub Sahara Africa, Zambia has experienced a sharp decline, a crush, of its economy, which has had a great adverse impact on the quality of 10 million people.

The decline started with the rising oil prices of the mid 1970's, which coincided with the drop in world copper prices being the mainstay of Zambian economy. The droughts which were experienced in the early 1980s have persisted into the 1990's and their impact has contributed to the decline in agriculture production. Liberalization and structural adjustment programme (SAP) of the economy denied the faming community access to markets both for agriculture inputs and for sale of produce and this has in many areas reinforced the tendency towards declining production. In addition, SAP has led to increase to unemployment and living hood insecurity, due to the retrenchments in public service and mining.

This essay will first begin by defining poverty in the Zambian context and proceed to give a background of how Zambia arrived at this definition of poverty. The essay will then outline the poverty situation in Zambia today and will focus on the issues of Health, HIV/AIDS, Education, Women and Children, Rural Poverty and Urban poverty. The last part of the essay will focus on the causes of Poverty and what measures can be taken to reduce absolute poverty for the poorest.

Zambia today is one of the poorest nations on earth and ranks as 156th out of 174 countries in terms of poverty (Jean Shaoul, 2002). The impact of poverty can be seen by the appalling to social conditions that are found in both rural and urban areas of Zambia. The gravity of situation is that more with more lives are being lost due to hunger, sickness a...

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... from debt relief, from outright cancellation debt of called for by jubilee Zambia, will be the availability of funds for rising living standards of the 70% to 80% of the Zambia people who are poor.


Jean Shaoul(2002):Poverty and Backwardness made in London and Washington: Zambia.

J. T. Milimo, T. Shilito, K. Brock (2000) The Poor Of Zambia Speak, Zambia Social Investment Fund (ZAMSIF).

Jesuit Centre For Theological Reflection(2004): Jubilee Zambia Says: We want Debt Cancellation and Poverty Eradication,

Kaunda Lembalemba, Energy and Poverty In Zambia(2002): A strategy for Survival.

Robin P., and Neil P.,(1977): The Roots of Rural Poverty In Central and Southern Africa, Heinman Education Book Ltd, London

Zambia Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2002)

War on Want (2002): Working on the Margins: Informal Economy Workers In Africa
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