Zambia’s Patriotic Front (PF) government and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu were re-elected in closely contested presidential race on in August 2016. The election gave Lungu a full five year mandate up to 2021, which enables the president and his cabinet to create their own development agenda for Zambia.
Lungu presented his State of the Nation Address in March 2017. In it, he called for national transformation so that the country’s high levels of poverty and inequality are addressed. The speech largely emphasized the restoration of national values and humanity over moral decay, corruption, and a lack of accountability, calling on every public servant to sign a code of ethics.
Zambia will soon revise its Lands Act policy to ensure its land is protected for future generations. The revised Land Act is also expected to avoid the indiscriminate and illegal sale of land in the country. The need to revise the act was initiated by the president, who observed the government needed to come up with revisions that guarantee sovereignty over land, a key natural heritage.
Zambia’s economy came under strain in 2015 and 2016 as external headwinds and domestic pressure intensified. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 2.8% in 2015 and 3.3% in 2016, much slower than the average 7.4% between 2004 and 2014. The external headwinds included slower regional and global growth and lower global copper prices. Domestic pressures included power outages that intensified from mid-2015 to the end of 2016, impacting all sectors of the economy.
As well as this, repeat fiscal deficits have weighed on investor confidence, and low and poorly-timed rains led to reduced agricultural income for the poorest Zambians and increased food prices in 2015. Economic conditions have improved slightly since the turn of 2017, and the World Bank projects an improved growth rate of 4% in 2017. This follows high rainfall in the 2016/17 agricultural season that has improved agricultural output and quickened the replenishment of hydro-electric reservoirs.
A Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) for Zambia is currently being prepared and will help the Bank’s understanding of the mechanics needed for poverty reduction and shared prosperity for the country. It will also inform the Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) being developed for 2017–2021.
Meanwhile, the Government of Zambia has approved its 7th National Development Plan 2017–2021 and promised to launch it by mid-2017. The plan, "Accelerating Development Efforts Towards Vision 2030 Without Leaving Anyone Behind,” calls for a fundamental shift in the way resources are being allocated, taking into account global and regional trends. It has 5 pillars:
- Economic diversification and Job creation
- Poverty and Vulnerability
- Reduced Developmental Inequalities
- Enhancing Human Development
- Conducive Governance Environment for Economic Diversification
The strategic goal of the 7th National Development Plan is to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained growth and social economic development. It will also include a result-oriented performance management system to be used to measure progress of its implementation.
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017