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Monday, 11 April 2011

A Poverty of Economic Analysis

"A cursory look at the so-called Vision 2030...and even the recently launched Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) confirms the lack of application of economic analysis and more. It is difficult to see what government economists spend their time doing. This is part of the reason why investments made in Zambia have not been of greater impact on the economy, and why still the country is one of the poorest in SADC, in spite of never experiencing natural or man-made calamities..."
From Robert Sanyikosa's recent article Mongu-Kalabo Road : An Economic Analysis. I think the answer to the question is that there are no government economists embedded in government ministries. But perhaps someone would correct me on this. So may be what they need to do is to start recruiting some. However, there has to be a demand from the public for evidence based policy for government to even bother. At present Zambians just see a road and money spent on it and they think its development. Questions about value for money, alternative uses, economic rationale, etc do not cross their minds. Also government does not properly consult. Why would they, when people seem content with the status quo?


  1. It is articles like these one by Robert Sanyikosa that makes one feel like crying and start wondering - is there a causal relationship between education and development delivery? I want to believe that many of our leaders are "educated" that is, they have acquired both rational, intellectual and practical capababilities that should be enabling them to make wise decisions for the wellbeing of the people they lead. But why dont they do so? Does EDUCATION mean something in Zambia? What is its value if it cannot be useful at the highest decision making levels to enable people make pro-poor decisions?

    What else should we be doing to make our educated societies functional to save Zambia from unnecessary human made poverty?

  2. That's a good question.

    As I have said, I think the key is to realise that government or opposition patties or anyone else will always be guided by self interest (on average). The key therefore is for Zambians to push for a system of government that allows everyone to be involved in policy making.

    What we need is a model of policy development that practises "crowd sourcing" - pooling of ideas from many quarters and facilitate dialogue. A govt that genuinely consults.

    We don't have that at present. Hence blunders like the Mongu- Kalabo road are daily occurence.


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