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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Rural Poverty in Zambia

A new FSRP paper presents fresh evidence on the state of rural poverty in Zambia. It draws on longitudinal data collected from 4,286 households which participated in three nationwide surveys conducted over seven years, in 2001, 2004, and 2008, to examine the factors associated with chronic and transient poverty and use the results to draw implications for designing policies and programs for alleviating rural poverty and promoting income growth for rural Zambia households. 

The analysis shows that the number of poor rural households went up by about 1%, from 88.7% to 89.6%. The authors conclude that, "the results indicate the challenges that Zambia faces in her poverty reduction quest recording very minimal poverty reduction over the seven years period". Income inequality also remains very high in Zambia. Levels of inequality remains very high, with the Gini coefficient, having increased from 0.64 in 2001 and 2004 to 0.67 in 2008. The conclusion is inescapable, "the gains from general economic growth in the country are not helping close the inequality gap. If these findings are corroborated by other studies then they have very important policy implications. The question remains, what kind of investments are required to close the inequality gap and raise the majority of rural Zambians out of poverty".

The main conclusions on the way forward  :
Comparison of households trapped in chronic poverty with those who maintain consistent high incomes suggests two major pathways out of poverty in rural Zambia. One pathway involves agricultural asset accumulation and commercialization. An alternate, though complementary path revolves around investment in secondary and post-secondary education of children which translates, in the next generation, into high-paying nonfarm employment. Household mobility – through temporary or permanent migration – appears to facilitate movement along both pathways.

In contrast, negative factors, which tend to trap households in chronic poverty, include health shocks to adult household members and mortality of prime-age adults. High dependency ratios, particularly young children and aging parents, likewise appear to limit upward economic mobility.

Key public investments that serve to accelerate these upward trajectories include investments in rural education, public health, feeder roads and improved market access, agricultural technology and management of human and livestock diseases. Policies that facilitate land consolidation, input supply, and market competition will also enhance these rural growth dynamic.

1 comment:

  1. There it is! Exactly what I want to vote for!

    "investments in rural education, public health, feeder roads and improved market access, agricultural technology and management of human and livestock diseases. "

    Now the hard part. Finding a party/politician willing to carry them out....


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