Zambia Needs More, Better Jobs to Reduce Poverty and Inequality

June 13, 2017

LUSAKA, June 13, 2017 – The World Bank today launched new reports confirming that Zambia needs a lot more jobs and created at a much faster pace. They also need to be of jobs with higher wages for the majority of Zambians still trapped in poverty. We call them good jobs because they promote inclusive growth. The youthful population cannot wait.

“The Zambia Jobs Diagnostic and the Jobs in Value Chains reports are an important contribution because Zambia remains one of Africa’s youngest countries. Faster job creation for youth, women, and rural communities is crucial to reducing poverty,” said Ina Ruthenberg, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia. “

New comparable results on poverty and inequality between 2010 and 2015 in Zambia are a wake-up call.  The troubling fact is that for the majority of Zambians living in rural areas, life got harder and living conditions got worse.

“As this Government starts the cycle of the new 5-year National Development Plan, its top priority is to create more and better jobs, especially for youths living in the rural areas,” said Dr. Roland Msiska, Secretary to Cabinet. He added, “Government therefore welcomes the input of the Lets Work Partnership into its job creation agenda, and will continue to engage on the policy actions needed for jobs.”

According to the reports, the gaps in labor market outcomes and earnings across Zambia are widening: between formal and informal workers, between rural and urban workers, between regions, and between unskilled and skilled workers. With the workforce growing rapidly, Zambia will only benefit from its demographic advantage over the next two generations if the economy can generate faster growth of jobs with higher productivity, particularly in agriculture and agro-processing, and in secondary towns.

The report recommends smoothening the effects of copper price fluctuations on the economy so as to facilitate investment and job creation; designing labor regulations to support the growth of formal sector jobs, and skills development to raise the productivity of farming and informal enterprises; and undertaking sectoral and regional policies to increase labor demand in high potential agro-processing and manufacturing value chains in regions with high poverty density.

These reports were presented today to policymakers, and representatives from the private sector, development community, and civil society organizations. The event was hosted by the World Bank in collaboration with the International Labour Organization as part of the Let’s Work Program, a global partnership that unites organizations dedicated to providing effective solutions to harnessing the potential of the private sector in job creation. The Secretary to Cabinet, through the Jobs Office in Cabinet under the Private Sector Development Reform Program (PSDRP), coordinated representation by Government across Ministries to discuss policy actions for jobs.

The Zambia Jobs Diagnostic report contains two volumes on analytics and a policy framework for jobs. “Volume 1: Analytics” outlines the main challenges to Zambia’s jobs agenda at the macroeconomic, household, and firm levels. “Volume 2: A Policy Framework for Jobs” presents a set of policies that may be prioritized by policymakers under a jobs strategy. The “Zambia Jobs in Value Chains: Opportunities in Agribusiness“ report looks at jobs at a sectoral level, with a focus on backward linkages into value chains. 

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