“It is clear that well-targeted support using the subnational poverty estimates obtained in the report would be extremely helpful in improving the allocation of resources to the poor,” said Alejandro de la Fuente, senior World Bank economist and lead author of the report.
The report also shows that there is a need to identify the areas with the largest concentration of poor people, rather than just providing analysis on poverty rates, de la Fuente said. For example, in rankings based on the percentage of the poor population, the constituency of Kapiri Mposhi ranks 101 out of 150 constituencies. However, based on the number of poor people, Kapiri Mposhi ranks first, with a total of 175,504 people living below the poverty line.
Although the country has enjoyed recent economic growth of above 6%, this growth has not improved living conditions for the poor, especially for those who live in remote areas. Much of the country’s gainful economic activities are concentrated primarily in the highly-urbanized Copperbelt and Lusaka regions. As a result, Zambia has one of the highest concentrations of inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa, partly because of the huge income gap that exists between rural and urban areas.
In addition to focusing on continued economic growth, the government is committed to reducing poverty through various government programs, including cash transfers which provide regular cash payments to poor households. Proposed funding for the social cash transfer program nearly tripled from K72.1 billion in FY13 to K199.2 billion in FY14, as the government plans to reach as many as 500,000 households by 2016.