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Monday, 4 August 2008

The rural urban infrastructure divide, 2nd Edition..

A previous blog provided information on the extent of infrastructure access inequality. That blog was missing information on health and electricity. The CSO have now released a very brief summary on this from the Living Conditions Monitory Survey (2006) :

Access to health facilities :

• In Zambia, majority of households, about 95 percent had access to a health facility. More urban households, 96.2 percent reported having used the facility compared to their rural counterparts with 94.4 percent.

• In terms of proximity to the health facility, majority of the households in Zambia(75.5 percent), were within a 5km radius of key socio-economic facilities, which included a health facility, middle basic school, hammer mill or public transport.

• Urban households were more advantaged in terms of access to all the facilities than rural households. About 93.0 percent, of urban households were within a 5 km radius of a health facility compared to 54.5 percent of their rural counterparts

Access to safe water:

• The proportion of households with access to safe water was 59 percent. Access to safe water was higher in urban (about 89 percent) than in rural areas (about 43 percent).

• Lusaka province had the largest proportion of households with access to safe water (96 percent) while Northern Province recorded the smallest proportion of households with access to safe water with about 16 percent.

Sanitation :

• About 59 percent of households in Zambia had own pit latrine, 7.3 percent communal latrine, and another 4.6 percent used neighbours’ pit latrines.

• Fifteen percent used flush toilets (9 percent own flush toilet inside house, 5 percent own flush toilet outside house and 1 percent shared flush toilet). About 13 percent of the households regrettably did not have any toilet facility.

• More of the rural households than the urban households used pit latrines (76.8 percent) compared to 59.8 percent of the urban households.

• The proportion of households without a toilet facility was 53.4 percent in Western Province, 33.2 percent in Southern Province and 21.5 percent in Eastern Province.

Access to electricity :

• About 19 percent of households in the country had access to electricity. More households in urban areas, 49.3 percent had access to electricity than those households in rural areas, 3.2 percent.

• Among the provinces, Lusaka recorded the largest proportion of households with access to electricity (51.4 percent), followed by Copperbelt (43.9 percent), Southern (13.5 percent), and Central (11.9 percent). The province with the lowest proportion of households with access to electricity was Western Province (3.5 percent).


  1. How about a new post - which is the best source of electricity for Zambia?

    I will contribute to the post.

  2. Kafue001,

    Happy for you to write a new introductory post to the issue and email it across to me and I'll put it on the blog for discussion.

    The email is

    The issue has been raised by other contributors on this blog, so I am sure we will have a vigorous discussion.


  3. Here is my introduction to the post:

    What are the preferable sources of electricity for Zambia?

    The thermal project recently announced using coal from Maamba mine may be faster to construct (probably 3 - 5 years), but it produces greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Also it is high quality coal, possibly better used for metallurgical purposes such as making steel.

    Hydropower is cheaper but takes a long time to construct. The Kafue Gorge Lower dam is expected to be completed in 2017.

    Solar power is more expensive, however the cost is expected to be less with huge projects such as this:

    Also it will take less time to construct (3-4 years). Disadvantage is that electricity is only produced during the day time.

  4. Noted.

    I'll work this into a post for Monday.

  5. Kafue001,

    Solar projects do not need to be huge to be beneficial.

    In fact, solar panels installed on homes can produce more electricity than the household produces.

    That means that if a home produces more energy than it needs, it can feed that electricity back into the grid, making them net producers of electricity. They could in theory be earning money, pay off a mortgage or just receive cash from the electricity company.

    Germany Embraces the Sun
    Reiner Gaertner 07.09.01

    If cloudy Germany can do it, so can Zambia.

    Grid Connected Solar Energy Systems (Australia)

    On the cost of solar energy in the US:

  6. Mr K,

    I was thinking in terms of projects large enough to provide electricity for mining and industrial uses. This is the constraint for Zambia's mining expansion now- lack of a large amount of additional electricity supply.

  7. Also, due to economies of scale, the cost per unit for large scale solar plants (as in the article about large scale California solar plants) is less than for individual household installations.

  8. Plans for exporting solar powered electricity from Africa to Germany:,german-firms-plan-giant-solar-power-project-in-africa--summary.html

  9. Solar powered cell phones:



  12. Solar energy news and website:

  13. Bicycle telephone charger:

  14. Potato battery:

  15. Millennium Village:

  16. U.N. Millennium Development Goals appear out of reach in Africa:,0,393254.story


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