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Friday, 20 March 2009

2008 Zambia Economic Report

The Annual Economic Report reviews the country’s economic performance and near-term prospects. The report embedded below has not yet hit the MoFNP website, but you can access previous reports there.

2008 Economic Report - Zambia


  1. I have seen a blog article on Channel4 by Jonathan Rugman pointing out that Zambia is the 13th poorest country in the world. How true is this assertion? Is Zambia really this poor?

  2. Frank,

    I assume you are referring to this :

    Our country is very poor...

    That said...its a poorly written blog because not only does it not reference the measure properly(is it based on GDP per capita, poverty rates, Human Development Index, etc ?) but it misses other points.

    Its talking about growth being 2% this year...actually the report embedded above shows that copper only accounts for 8% of our GDP....basically Zambia's economy is structually diversified but our export diversification is not...if that makes any sense...that is the reason we are growing at only 5% rather than 10% or 30%....

    I am hopeful Zambia will hit real GDP growth of 5% because we get nothing from copper anyway apart from PAYE...not to mention the increased competitiveness of other sectors from a weaker Kwacha and falling oil prices....

    The world really has overstimated how much Zambia gets from copper...

    I am more worried about long term sustainability of our debt position in the absense of foreign grants...and weakening local aid..of many NGOs...

  3. Cho,

    I am hopeful Zambia will hit real GDP growth of 5% because we get nothing from copper anyway apart from PAYE...

    When are we going to do something about that?

    There is no justification for foreign companies making a cent of profit, when the economic lifeblood of the country does not benefit the country.

    Talk about vampire capitalism.

  4. Thanks Cho but I still do not buy the argument that Zambia is the 13th poorest country in the world? Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, CAR, Malagasy, DRC, Burundi, Niger, Mauritania, Guinea, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Fasso and Mali have either GDPs or per Capita incomes below those of Zambia. I just dont believe that Zambia is hopelessly No: 13 in the global poverty league. What I also have never understood is why the UN despite funding various CSO surveys continue to disseminate statistics that are different from the CSO. I am talking about the life expectancy age. It is the same with the French publication 'Africa Report', I have been wondering how they get the percentage of animists in Zambia. I am beginning to think that as Zambians we've gone to sleep and left it to outsiders to define us.

  5. MrK, Frank

    On both of your different points:

    Agreed. Thats what we are trying to change.

    Specifically on Frank's point, that is why blogs like this one are important so we know and can share the right information. Also hopefully government will have more websites etc..

    The more webpages we have the more people can find ways of accessing raw data....

  6. Poverty, much like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder.

    For example, some have argued for a measure of "relative poverty" whereby we can assess the degree to which Person A, who makes a hundred dollars a day is more than 10 times "better off" than Person B who makes ten dollars a day. If a day's mealie meal costs both people $1, then not only is this just 1% of A's income versus 10% of B's income, but will be compounded by the effects of price inflation. As the price of mealie meal goes up to $1.50, Person B must either obtain a 5% increase in their income, or cut 5% of their expenditures, as opposed to a far more manageable 0.5% adjustment for Person A. Metrics such as per capita GDP without reference to a standard cost of living index are not terribly useful for international comparisons.

    The "official" definition for poverty is usually income based, which of course fails to take into account whatever accumulated wealth may be present in the community or available to the individual. While often corollated, this simple metric does not account for items such as the presence of clean water, forest or fishery resources used for subsistence food or energy, items bartered within the community on a non-cash basis, illicit or illegal trade (primarily narcotics, antiquities, poached animals and gems), or subsidies which effectively reduce the cost of living, etc..

    Cynically, in the game of who can attract the most aid to pad their budget, the goal is to get a lower score than you probably deserve. It's probably a bit tricky, since appearing to be unreliable is not good, but there again, successfully pitching the initial state of affairs lower than actual makes it much easier to demonstrate improvement later on, even while continuing to appear more in need than may in fact be the case. Thus the cynical course would be to applaud the government on its skillful ability to underrate the nation's ability to fund its own solutions.

  7. its shaming that u think our country is poor, Zambia is simply a nation that hasn't converted its opportunities and natural resources into direct physical returns... we are far from poor, we're just not producing what we ought. we have more raw "money" than even the United states. our land is full of unexplored resource and it is for that reason alone that i take offence to that comment. call us lazy if u want to but not poor...


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