LUSAKA, March 5, 2019 – To ensure the country’s poorest citizens benefit from increased economic growth, the new Country Partnership Framework for Zambia (CPF 2019-2023) prioritizes reducing poverty in rural areas and expanding jobs and opportunities.
While Zambia achieved middle-income status during a decade of impressive growth between 2004-2014, this growth had limited impact on poverty reduction, particularly in rural areas. The new CPF, approved earlier this month, supports the government’s efforts to reduce regional economic disparities by mobilizing private sector investment, interconnecting regions and increasing agricultural competitiveness to boost the main livelihood of poor citizens in rural areas.
“The World Bank’s support to Zambia is important because 58% of Zambia’s 16.6 million people earn less than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day compared to 41% across Sub-Saharan Africa, and three quarters of the country’s poorest citizens live in rural areas,” said Ina Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
The CPF, which supports the government’s poverty reduction plan outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan and Vision 2030, comes at a critical time when Zambia is facing many development challenges.
Zambia ranks among the countries with highest level of inequality globally. Increasing population coupled with agriculture and natural resource exploitation practices are accelerating land and natural resource degradation, while an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 hectares of forests are cut down every year, which are central to climate resilience and shared prosperity among rural citizens.
In addition to supporting the government’s goal to help poor, rural communities become more climate resilient, the CPF more specifically aims to:
- Expand market opportunities for Zambian firms through increased economic integration with neighboring countries and an adequate rural road network
- Reduce the infrastructure gap, increasing access to electricity, and water and sanitation, particularly in rural areas
- Support financial inclusion, improve the delivery of basic health and education services, and increase the pro-poor focus of fiscal policy, which includes specific interventions under social protection that are meant to further increase disadvantaged girls’ participation in secondary education and poor women’s livelihood opportunities
- Create a concrete plan to address the current debt situation through enough fiscal consolidation and reserves
The CPF will also support Zambia to improve human development outcomes, particularly in rural areas, by enhancing the quality and coverage of education and health service delivery. This includes better surveillance and control of communicable diseases, reducing stunting, increasing coverage and effectiveness of social assistance and significantly boosting women’s and girls’ education levels, livelihood opportunities and empowerment.
The CPF is informed by the Systemic Country Diagnostic (SCD) finalized in March 2018, which identifies strategic priority areas for World Bank Group (WBG) support to Zambia. During CPF development, consultations were held with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including international donors, nongovernmental organizations and civil society, youth, socially-excluded people such as those who are visually impaired and deaf, and the private sector.
This CPF reflects the WBG’s commitment to work with the government in their pursuit of an inclusive path of high growth that benefits every Zambian, lifting poor citizens and employing youth.