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Saturday, 21 November 2009

How prosperous is Zambia?

That depends on your comparator. According to the recently released 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index, Zambia is not very prosperous globally (89/104), but slightly better regionally (7th in Africa).

The good:

Social Capital - Ranked 21st : Just 12% of all Zambians feel they can trust their fellow citizen, placing Zambia amongst the bottom 15 on this variable. Only 18% of Zambians indicated they had donated to charity in 2008; however, as many as 26% had volunteered and a high 60% of Zambians claimed to have helped a stranger in the same timeframe.* In addition, just 70% feel they can rely on their family and friends in times of need*; however, most people in Zambia feel friends are important to them. The proportion of the population who are members of organisations is the third highest, internationally: 96% are involved in religious organisations, and memberships in sports and arts groups rank within the seven highest rates, worldwide. Zambia is one of the 10 most religious countries in the world, on a self-reported basis, with the majority of the population practising and attending religious services.* This high level of religiosity provides an additional network through which the Zambian community can find social support.
The bad:
Governance - Ranked 77th : The rule of law is neither well respected nor enforced in Zambia and both the quality of commercial regulation and the quality of the governmental bureaucracy are also very poor, ranking the country in the bottom quartile on this variable. While citizens do have some right to self determination through democratic processes, this is limited to some degree by institutional weaknesses, and only 27% of citizens are confident in the honesty of Zambian elections.* More than eight out of 10 people think there is widespread corruption in local businesses and government.* On a positive note, 63% approve of the country’s court system, ranking Zambia in the top 30, and nearly three-quarters have confidence in the Zambian armed forces, an average proportion, worldwide.
The ugly:
Economic Fundamentals - Ranked 102nd : Half of the workforce is unemployed in Zambia, the second highest proportion worldwide, and the inflation rate, at 11%, is among the 15 highest, globaly. Despite a domestic savings rate of 31% of GDP that ranks the country in the top 25, physical capital per worker is very low in Zambia and foreign direct investment is equal to 9% of its GDP. Over one-tenth of all loans in Zambia are in default, while a high interest margin of over nine percentage points shows an inefficient banking sector, ranking the country in the bottom six countries, globally. Household expenditure in Zambia is very low, indicating a small domestic market for local businesses. Zambia’s level of reliance on raw material exports is very high, with a concentration level of 61%; despite this, the country’s exports, as a proportion of its capacity to import, are around the global average.
The methodological report can be found here.


  1. Some of this algorithms used to figure this kind of ranking has a lot of outliers. I think that prosperity is measured using many different tools. But if we can lower the poverty, create employment, empower our citizenry with education that developed the holistic person and then we can say we are prospering that is if Zambia and the Zambians are able to create wealth and build human capital.

  2. If we look at most of the developments in Zambia, over 50% over the infrastractures that are being built now are Social places like clubs, discos, drinking places,and who has that money to go to these places? Imagine how old the people in the government are, actually there isnt any fresh brains.... What ideas do they have? I mean ideas that can concur with this fast growing world!!!!

  3. Actually poverty levels in Zambia have reduced from 80% to just around 60%. This is a good achievement. To further reduce poverty, Zambians with the "know-how" must get into business ownership because businesses give jobs to people. Simple. We must stop looking to govt for everything but rather work with govt. It is so convenient and easy for people to blame govt when they are not doing anything to curb the problems we are facing. Govt has set up the environment, it is yours and my turn to do our part by engaging in business ownership which will create jobs.


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