LUSAKA, March 27, 2015 – A new joint report by the World Bank and the Central Statistical Office (CSO) recommends that using poverty statistics at ward and constituency levels could be more effective in determining allocation of resources to reduce poverty in the country, compared to using other national level statistics.
The report, titled Mapping Subnational Poverty in Zambia, shows poverty rates at district, constituency, and ward levels using data from the 2010 Population and Housing Census and the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey also of 2010. The report finds that national level averages of poverty mask important concentrations of poverty in some areas, and also a great heterogeneity of poverty incidence at subnational levels in many parts of the country. The report finds that some of the poorest wards are concentrated in the Western, North Western, and Luapula provinces, but the largest concentrations of the poor population are in some of the wards in the Lusaka, Eastern, Central and Northern provinces. Sixty percent of the population in Zambia is living in poverty.
“The estimates of poverty ranges at the constituency and ward levels could be a powerful tool for Zambian policymakers,” says Ms. Kundhavi Kadiresan, the World Bank’s Country Director for Zambia. She adds that since the mapping also shows differences within and among wards, constituencies and districts, such differences should be considered for objective and meaningful targeting. The World Bank Country Director also commends the collaboration between the CSO and the Bank in doing analysis that is very pertinent in helping Government make informed decisions.
The Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health Hon. Emerine Kabanshi, concurs on the usefulness of the report. “The poverty mapping will enable us better target programs and scarce resources to the extremely poor households,” she says. “This is something that our Government is excited about as it is crucial if poverty is to be reduced,” she adds.
The poverty mapping makes critical observations that will be handy to Government in many of its social programs. “For example, the wards with the highest poverty rates are also those with lower rates of household education, higher shares of individuals employed in the agriculture sector, and farther distances to primary and tertiary roads,” says Alejandro de la Fuente, Senior World Bank Economist and lead author of the report.
Government and the World Bank will launch the report today in Lusaka.