The Patriotic Front (PF) government and the incumbent President Edgar Chagwa Lungu were re-elected in closely contested presidential race on August 11, 2016. The elections were governed by the country’s recently amended constitution, which requires that a presidential candidate wins the election by 50%+1 of the vote. Lungu, who has served as the country’s president since the January 2015 election after the death of President Michael Sala, received 50.3% of the vote. His closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), received nearly 48% of the vote.
The new constitution also requires that a vice president is voted for by the electorate, unlike in the past where the vice president was appointed by the president. Inonge Wina, who became the first woman to hold the vice presidency in 2015, continues to hold the post, making her the highest ranking woman in the country’s history.
Zambia’s economy has come under strain in 2015 and 2016 as external headwinds and domestic pressures have intensified. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 2.8% in 2015 from 4.9% in 2014. The external headwinds include slower regional and global growth, which have reduced global copper prices. Domestic pressures include a power crisis from mid-2016 to early-2016, impacting all sectors of the economy, repeat fiscal deficits that have weighed on investor confidence, and low and poorly-timed rains reduced agricultural incomes and increased food prices in 2015. The World Bank forecasts that growth will remain at 2.9% in 2016, before improving in 2017 (4%) and 2018 (4.2%) as the power situation improves alongside higher better from both the agriculture and mining sectors.
A Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) for Zambia is currently being prepared, which will help improve understanding on how poverty reduction can be expedited and prosperity better shared. It will also inform the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with government from August 2017 onwards. The Zambian government is in the process of finalizing the 7th National Development Plan 2017-2021 (NDP), which is expected to provide “practical implementation strategies” for the government’s goals to achieve economic transformation through an “integrated approach” that links key sectors. For example, by leveraging the joint potential of agriculture and tourism, the government can galvanize and stimulate diversification.
The NDP provides an opportunity to prioritize government objectives toward poverty reduction and strengthening the linkages between budgeting and planning. It is part of the cascading system of planning that commenced with the National Vision 2030 prepared in 2005, and breaks down to rolling annual plans. A Ministry of Planning and National Development has been created to spearhead national development.
Last Updated: Nov 18, 2016