The commitment of the current Government in promoting gender equity in its National Development Agenda is evident from the concrete steps taken by the leadership in ensuring ‘no one is left behind’  and expresses the conviction that boys and girls, men and women should benefit equally from development in Zambia. This has been demonstrated to a large extent by Government’s strong will and commitment to empowering women and the youth into high positions of responsibility in the public sector and the support provided to those in the private sector. It believes women are key stakeholders in decision making. They play a huge role in providing unique perspectives into various issues that not only impact their socio-economic spheres at individual level, but also at community and national development level. Women’s participation in the overall development agenda is not only a fundamental human right but it is also a marker of good governance. In spite all of this, gender power dynamics still shape many parts of society. Globally, women continue to be under-represented in formulation of national policies as well as in the political and economic decision-making spheres. Women’s participation in policy formulation is critical to achieving greater equality and giving women a voice in national issues.

Participation refers to the extent to which one’s voice is heard, respected and applied in decision-making, planning, implementation and monitoring of actions. Undermining women’s voices could lower levels of participation in policy formulation even further. There are several factors that converge to impede women’s participation in policy formulation. These factors can be intersectional in nature and recognizing how they influence each other is vital in addressing participation levels. These impediments could include but are not limited to: education levels of women, physical ability, age, culture, religion, location (i.e. rural/urban, high density/suburb), socio-economic class, among many others. Hence, it is important to take into consideration the factors that impede women’s participation during the policy formulation process in order to make the process more gender-inclusive and responsive.

Several regional and international instruments have been drawn to support women’s participation at various levels of decision making. These frameworks have been crucial in improving the status of women globally as well as in mainstreaming a rights-based approach in governance and policy discourse. Zambia is signatory to and has ratified conventions and frameworks that include; The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), The Beijing Platform for Action, The Sustainable Development Goals, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United Nation’s Framework Convention for Climate Change, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The International Conference on Population and Development, The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, The SADC Gender Protocol among others.

Achieving gender equality across all sectors is a goal that Zambia aspires to. Over the years, some progress has been made in creating an inclusive labor force with policies such as Affirmative Action and the Labor Act that prevent the discrimination of women in accessing various fields of employment. More and more women have risen to top positions in their fields as well as in what were previously considered male-dominated work-spaces. However, women still face various challenges that prevent them from accelerating as fast as their male counterparts and in some cases having to put in more effort in order to gain recognition in some fields. The ‘glass-ceiling’ has continued to be a reality for many women. In Zambia, the Judiciary has taken progressive steps in appointing more women at top ranks. However, progress in the Public Service and Parliament has been relatively slow with men holding most of the top positions. For instance, in 2015 a female Chief Justice was appointed at the highest level of the judicial hierarchy. In addition, the number of women appointed as Judges is relatively proportional to that of men and has been increasing over the years. As of 2018, the gendered representation of the Judiciary was recorded as; Chief Justice 1 female with no male; judges 31 males and 32 females; magistrates 201 male while 105 were female. This represents a healthy gender-balance in the judicial system. However, there are more men appointed as magistrates than women which poses a challenge for achieving greater representation and equality at that level.  On the other hand, Parliament and the Public Service seem to be lagging behind in achieving greater equality as key players in policy formulation. The representation of members of Parliament by gender stands at; Men hold 81.9% of the seats in Parliament while women hold the remaining 18.1%. Similarly, in the Public Service, women holding various top positions stands at; Permanent Secretaries 13 out of 56 positions; Deputy Permanent Secretaries 2 out of 12; Directors 103 out of 344 and Head of Departments 722 out of 2319 positions. These statistics highlight the need for radical reform to increase the number of seats women hold in Parliament as well as at various decision-making positions in the Public Service.

It is vital to note that women can and do play an important role in policy formulation. These include: giving unique insight and experiences that could shape policy in a more holistic approach, highlighting the need to recognize social diversity in various policy issues brought to the fore, assist in advancing principals of equity, equality and social justice that shape policy, draw attention to women-specific issues that may be overlooked by other parties. There are several ways women can be empowered to participate in the policy formulation process. Generally, women tend to feel more confident when they are in large numbers. Converging with other women that share similar interests may not only boost their confidence but it could also positively influence other women to participate in policy formulation. Some enablers of women’s participation include: (i). Providing safe spaces to consult, share knowledge and experiences with other women and increase their social power, (ii). Increasing civic education, technical knowledge and skills of women as well as their general education, (iii). Improving access to information on political issues in order to boost the confidence needed to articulate and challenge policy discourse as well as actively participate (iv). Improve media outreach and influence to change perceptions on what roles women must play in the policy landscape (v). Strengthening partnerships with men as agents of change and dismantling gender stereotypes could influence change in how both genders perceive the participation of women. Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are ideal strategic partners that aim at giving women a voice and often offer solidarity and a platform for women to express their needs and concerns on important national and personal issues affecting them.

Recommendations

  1. PMRC proposes that Zambia adopts a customized quota system that will increase the representation of women in decision making as well as strategically place them in positions of power within party structures with increased exposure to leadership roles.
  2. There is need to raise civic awareness and increase access to information among women in order to advance their participation in policy discourse.
  3. Zambia must address the structural and intersectional barriers that impede women from exercising their agency on political issues to improve the participation of women and protect their overall interests.
  4. In view of implementing the quota system, Zambia needs to find ways of avoiding an artificial representation of women or tokenism across all sectors. It needs to ensure that women assert real power and influence in their respective capacities.

The commitment of the current Government in promoting gender equity in its National Development Agenda is evident from the concrete steps taken by the leadership in ensuring ‘no  one  is  left behind’  and expresses the conviction that boys and girls, men and women should benefit equally from development in Zambia. This has been demonstrated to a large extent by Government’s strong will and commitment to empowering women and the youth into high positions of responsibility in the public sector and the support provided to those in the private sector. It believes women are key stakeholders in decision making. They play a huge role in providing unique perspectives into various issues that not only impact their socio-economic spheres at individual level, but also at community and national development level. Women’s participation in the overall development agenda is not only a fundamental human right but it is also a marker of good governance. In spite all of this, gender power dynamics still shape many parts of society. Globally, women continue to be under-represented in formulation of national policies as well as in the political and economic decision-making spheres. Women’s participation in policy formulation is critical to achieving greater equality and giving women a voice in national issues.

Participation refers to the extent to which one’s voice is heard, respected and applied in decision-making, planning, implementation and monitoring of actions. Undermining women’s voices could lower levels of participation in policy formulation even further. There are several factors that converge to impede women’s participation in policy formulation. These factors can be intersectional in nature and recognizing how they influence each other is vital in addressing participation levels. These impediments could include but are not limited to: education levels of women, physical ability, age, culture, religion, location (i.e. rural/urban, high density/suburb), socio-economic class, among many others. Hence, it is important to take into consideration the factors that impede women’s participation during the policy formulation process in order to make the process more gender inclusive and responsive.

Several regional and international instruments have been drawn to support women’s participation at various levels of decision making. These frameworks have been crucial in improving the status of women globally as well as in mainstreaming a rights-based approach in governance and policy discourse. Zambia is signatory to and has ratified conventions and frameworks that include; The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), The Beijing Platform for Action, The Sustainable Development Goals, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United Nation’s Framework Convention for Climate Change, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The International Conference on Population and Development, The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, The SADC Gender Protocol among others.

Achieving gender equality across all sectors is a goal that Zambia aspires to. Over the years, some progress has been made in creating an inclusive labor force with policies such as Affirmative Action and the Labor Act that prevent the discrimination of women in accessing various fields of employment. More and more women have risen to top positions in their fields as well as in what were previously considered male dominated work-spaces. However, women still face various challenges that prevent them from accelerating as fast as their male counterparts and in some cases having to put in more effort in order to gain recognition in some fields. The ‘glass-ceiling’ has continued to be a reality for many women. In Zambia, the Judiciary has taken progressive steps in appointing more women at top ranks. However, progress in the Public Service and Parliament has been relatively slow with men holding most of the top positions. For instance, in 2015 a female Chief Justice was appointed at the highest level of the judicial hierarchy. In addition, the number of women appointed as Judges is relatively proportional to that of men and has been increasing over the years. As of 2018, the gendered representation of the Judiciary was recorded as; Chief Justice 1 female with no male; judges 31 males and 32 females; magistrates 201 male while 105 were female. This represents a healthy gender-balance in the judicial system. However, there are more men appointed as magistrates than women which poses a challenge for achieving greater representation and equality at that level.  On the other hand, Parliament and the Public Service seem to be lagging behind in achieving greater equality as key players in policy formulation. The representation of members of Parliament by gender stands at; Men hold 81.9% of the seats in Parliament while women hold the remaining 18.1%. Similarly, in the Public Service, women holding various top positions stands at; Permanent Secretaries 13 out of 56 positions; Deputy Permanent Secretaries 2 out of 12; Directors 103 out of 344 and Head of Departments 722 out of 2319 positions. These statistics highlight the need for radical reform to increase the number of seats women hold in Parliament as well as at various decision making positions in the Public Service.

It is vital to note that women can and do play an important role in policy formulation. These include: giving unique insight and experiences that could shape policy in a more holistic approach, highlighting the need to recognize social diversity in various policy issues brought to the fore, assist in advancing principals of equity, equality and social justice that shape policy, draw attention to women-specific issues that may be overlooked by other parties. There are several ways women can be empowered to participate in the policy formulation process. Generally, women tend to feel more confident when they are in large numbers. Converging with other women that share similar interests may not only boost their confidence but it could also positively influence other women to participate in policy formulation. Some enablers of women’s participation include: (i). Providing safe spaces to consult, share knowledge and experiences with other women and increase their social power, (ii). Increasing civic education, technical knowledge and skills of women as well as their general education, (iii). Improving access to information on political issues in order to boost the confidence needed to articulate and challenge policy discourse as well as actively participate (iv). Improve media outreach and influence to change perceptions on what roles women must play in the policy landscape (v). Strengthening partnerships with men as agents of change and dismantling gender stereotypes could influence change in how both genders perceive the participation of women. Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are ideal strategic partners that aim at giving women a voice and often offer solidarity and a platform for women to express their needs and concerns on important national and personal issues affecting them.

Recommendations

  1. PMRC proposes that Zambia adopts a customized quota system that will increase the representation of women in decision making as well as strategically place them in positions of power within party structures with increased exposure to leadership roles.
  2. There is need to raise civic awareness and increase access to information among women in order to advance their participation in policy discourse.
  3. Zambia must address the structural and intersectional barriers that impede women from exercising their agency on political issues to improve the participation of women and protect their overall interests.
  4. In view of implementing the quota system, Zambia needs to find ways of avoiding an artificial representation of women or tokenism across all sectors. It needs to ensure that women assert real power and influence in their respective capacities.

Mrs. Bernadette Deka Zulu – PMRC Executive Director

Approximately 50%  of adults in rural areas are unbanked or have no access to financial services (Finscope Report 2015). Access to financial services has been a challenge due to various reasons, which among others include low population density in rural areas and extremely poor infrastructure, compounded by low productivity, making it difficult and expensive to provide such services. The importance of increasing access to financial services cannot be overemphasized because of the key role it plays in reducing poverty, increasing employment and attracting development. This can consequently help to bridge the rural-urban economic divide; with 77% poor people in rural areas compared to only 23% urban areas (Living Conditions Monitoring Survey,2015).

To this effect, the Zambian Government developed the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy of 2012, a key policy document aimed at promoting access to financial services in rural areas and thereby reducing vulnerability and promoting the prosperity of the rural population. Some of the interventions/strategies that have been implemented by the Government as stated in the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy to promote access to financial services include the following among others:

Enactment of the Credit Reporting Act in 2018 to provide for the establishment of a Credit Registry and the overall governance and management of credit reporting agencies including the protection of data subjects as well as information sharing and reporting, to enable assessment of the creditworthiness of data subjects.

Support efforts to enable interoperability of the national payment switch to reduce the cost of financial services and modernize payment systems. The interoperability of payment systems was effected in 2019 and it is hoped that this will effectively facilitate better access to financial services for the unbanked in rural areas by reducing costs of financial services and modernization of payment systems.

Revision of the National Payment Systems Directives on Electronic Money Issuance. In 2018, the Bank of Zambia revised the National Payment Systems Directives on Electronic Money Issuance that were initially issued in 2015. The key changes to the directives included the following:

Permitting customers to hold multiple wallets.

Permitting both commercial banks and approved non-bank financial institutions to host Holding Accounts for electronic money.

Inclusion of specific guidance on the use of interest earned on Holding Accounts.

Provisions for consumer protection and the need for e-money institutions to have procedures for dealing with customer complaints.

Consequently, the volume of transactions processed on mobile money platforms in 2018 rose by 76.0% compared to 2017.

Support towards the implementation of microinsurance products in the agriculture sector; In 2017, Government awarded Mayfair Insurance Company a contract to offer weather-based index insurance to all farmers who benefited from Government input subsidies through Farmer Input Supply Programme (FISP).

In September 2018, Government established the Rural Finance Unit to coordinate rural finance, under the Department of Investment and Debt Management at the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

In 2016, the Government enacted the Movable Property Security Interest Act (MPSI) to Support efforts to fully establish unified collateral registry, including the use of movable property. The Act is aimed at making the business environment attractive for lenders to accept movable property as collateral. The MPSI Act seeks to make movable property a reliable form of collateral, thereby diversifying the nature of mobile assets used as collateral resulting in enhanced borrowing.

he Bank of Zambia has also been at the fore of promoting the Financial Literacy Week aimed at empowering people with knowledge on available financial products and services as well as creating momentum on both the supply and demand-side information for the development of consumer-centric financial products and services.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to further upscale financial inclusion in rural areas specifically and the entire country generally, the following issues need to be addressed:

The Central Bank of Zambia needs to urgently develop Agency Banking Regulations to guide and accelerate agency banking in underserved rural areas and consequently increase the agency banking’s share of transaction volume by financial agents.

The Development Bank of Zambia needs to play an active role as an apex financial institution providing finances to micro-financial institutions for onward lending to rural areas as espoused in the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy and Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) programme design.

Government and Zambia Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) needs to put in place measures that will guarantee smallholder farmers’ active participating in the agriculture commodity exchange as opposed to the current scenario where the majority of farmers having access to the agriculture commodity exchange are well-established farmers.

The Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) needs to upscale its efforts in ensuring that the necessary microinsurance guidelines/principles are promptly put in place to promote the growth of insurance uptake in rural areas and the country at large. Additionally, legislation (Insurance Act) needs to be amended to accommodate licensing of micro-insurers and facilitate the opening up of the distribution space.

Following the enactment of Movable Property Security Interest (MPSI) Act in 2016, Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and other stakeholders need to increase sensitization in rural communities on the new options available to smallholder farmers through MPSI Act regarding use of movable assets as collateral to access finance.

The Zambia Statistics Agency needs to include “financial inclusion variables” in its routine national surveys to be able to measure financial inclusion statistics as opposed to the country relying on private sector sanctioned surveys to measure financial inclusion.

The Ministry of Agriculture needs to decisively deal with complaints specifically relating to inconsistences in Weather Insurance Index payouts where some farmers receive payouts while others do not, yet they are residing in the same geographical area affected by the drought. Enhanced confidence in Weather Insurance Index will enhance the uptake of other micro-insurance products by farmers.

Some of the key activities during the Financial Literacy Week need to be extended to the rest of the year and priority should be given to rural areas with lower levels of financial inclusion.

With over 50% of the population living below the poverty line, Zambia’s vulnerable communities do not have sufficient capacity to cope with or adapt to, the impacts of extreme weather events. Zambia’s climate has been highly variable and over the last few decades characterized by a series of climatic extremes, e.g. droughts, seasonal floods and flash floods, extreme temperatures and dry spells, many of these with increased frequency, intensity and magnitude.  Evidence indicates that Zambia has contributed to climate change by her engagement in massive deforestation. Forests are important in absorbing carbon dioxide, which is a product of fossil fuel combustion and has been responsible for global climate change. Currently, the country loses about 79,000 to 150,000 hectares of forests per year.

Therefore, there has been need to develop adaptation and mitigative measures to address climate change especially in the agricultural sector. Research indicates that about 8.8% of smallholder households have adopted Conservation Agriculture (CA) as a climate-smart agricultural technique in the 2013/’14 farming season. The global community and the Zambian Government in particular, have developed strategies and policies that present the bare minimum number of activities that must be implemented with urgency in order to enable vulnerable communities to cope with the adverse effects of climate change. 

The following are some of the policy interventions by Government and how they have attempted to mainstream Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices:

Seventh National Development Plan (2017-2021); this policy document emphasizes adoption of agricultural environment-friendly practices; climate-smart and organic techniques such as conservation farming, less use of chemical fertilizer and creating public awareness on the adverse effects of climate change.

National Climate Change Policy (2016); the overall objective of the policy is to provide a framework for coordinating climate change programmes in order to ensure climate-resilient and low carbon development pathways for sustainable development towards the attainment of Zambia’s Vision 2030. The policy advocates for the promotion and adoption of appropriate Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) technologies for different agro-ecological zones as well as the promotion of landscape-based livelihood diversification.

National Agriculture Policy (2016); One of key objectives of the policy is to mainstream all issues of the environment and climate change into the agricultural sector. To promote adoption of CSA’s, the policy proposes that farmers accessing the Government – supported Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) are required to practice conservation farming as a prerequisite for access to inputs. The policy also recognizes and promotes the need for CSA practices for livestock and the integration of agroforestry into crop-livestock production systems; and improved housing and feeding practices.

National Energy Policy, (2008); The National Energy Policy seeks to promote cross-sectoral linkages between the energy sector and other key social and economic sectors such as agriculture. The policy promotes sustainable agriculture by emphasizing the development of biomass energy technologies, and providing agricultural support to farmers wishing to grow energy crops such as Jatropha, sugarcane and sweet sorghum.

National Agricultural Advisory and Extension Strategy (NAAES)  2016-2020; the strategy looks at plans to strengthen agricultural extension service delivery by advocating for the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing extension staff, and promoting private extension service providers to supplement  the public extension system. The strategy also looks at measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by promoting forestation/ reforestation, mulching techniques, organic production and utilization of waste materials/ bio-energy.

The Zambia’s National Climate Change Response Strategy (2010); The strategy took a sectoral approach to addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation, focusing on investments in sustainable land use (agriculture and forestry sectors), early warning, and agro-climatic information. The strategy was pivotal in advocating for the development of an appropriate climate change governance (policy, legal and institutional) framework including mainstreaming climate change in all the key sectors of the economy.

National Policy on the Environment (2009), serves to enhance efforts by Government institutions to protect and safeguard the natural resources and environment and ultimately improve public health in the country. As a linkage to the agricultural sector, the policy promotes environmentally sound agricultural development by ensuring sustainable crop and livestock production through ecologically appropriate production and management techniques, and appropriate legal and institutional framework for sustainable environmental management

National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) 2015. The Strategy advocates for interventions that address the need for agricultural intensification leading to reduced frequency of clearance of forests for increased agricultural productivity through collaboration and coordination between the Forestry Department and the Ministry of Agriculture leading to staff being trained in farming systems diagnosis focusing on a selection of areas for specific agricultural intensification practices.

The National Agriculture Investment Plan NAIP (2014-2018); the policy promotes sustainable utilization of natural resources through the Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resources Programme. One of the programme objectives of the Sustainable Utilization of Natural Resources programme is to create and enhance the sustainable use and maintenance of the existing agricultural resource base to be able to efficiently support vibrant and resilient agricultural production systems. However, there is a need to review the performance NAIP before developing the successor programme which is long overdue, since NAIP came to an end in 2018.

National Forestry Policy (2009); the policy advocates for the promotion of a land-use system that ensures the protection of headwaters, river basins and terrestrial resources; promotes sufficient and sustainable allocation of land between major competing uses and sectors such as agriculture, energy and mining. The policy further promotes the development of a management system that enhance the functional role of forestry in maintaining ecological and climatic functions.

Recommendations

In order to encourage adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), due consideration needs to be given to the following recommendations;

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and other stakeholders need to upscale field schools among small scale farmers to effectively promote the adoption of CSAs.

MOA needs to adequately package Zambia Metrological Department (ZMD) information and distribute it to those farmers that would be the most affected by crop failure and there is need to narrow the communication gap between the ZMD and District authorities at different levels.

MOA needs to employ more extension staff to meet the recommended ratio of 400:1 farmer to one extension officer. Extension officers play a key role in training farmers on CSA practices and in building resilience against climate change effects.

Successful adoption of CSA practices such as Conservation Agriculture (CA) having being linked to land rights. In this vein, the Government should address the issue of land rights by improving the land titling procedures and waiting time.

In all sustainable land approaches in the Agriculture sector, the Government should use the landscape approach that takes into account the multiple functions of land and other ecosystems. The approach ensures that the best possible balance is achieved among a range of different development objectives, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, environmental and biodiversity conservation, enhanced economic productivity, and improved livelihoods.

We urge the Government to extend carbon tax to all other sectors that use fossil fuels as opposed to motor vehicle only. Carbon tax can serve both purposes of mitigation and adaptation. The resources realized from the tax can be utilized to promote  Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices and provision of relief food to families worst hit by the impacts of climate change. The carbon tax is a Pigovian tax since it returns the cost of global warming to their producers and can consequently reduce carbon emissions as a mitigative measure. Zambia can learn from South Africa who in May 2019 enacted a long-delayed carbon tax into law as one of the continent’s worst polluters.

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As His Excellency the President Mr. Edgar Lungu officially opens the 4th Session of the 12th National Assembly, The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre hereby provides the following as our expectations to inform the address to the National Assembly and the country at large.

The following are our expectations:

  • A call for unity in South Africa and the SADC region in general as we build towards implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area. Further, an emphasis for all citizens to continue upholding national values and ethics.
  • Energy Deficit: updates on immediate interventions and resolutions with regards to what is being done to address the power shortages and, also, road map on the status of diversifying our energy sources.
  • Updates on key policy decisions that have been recently postponed: (a) The National Airline – what is the progress and when will it be fully launched? (b) The Sales Tax: what is the way forward for Zambia? Emphasis on more research and refinement. (c) An update on the status of the National Health Insurance Scheme, especially as it relates to universal health for all.
  • Updates on how the country is fairing on the implementation of the 7th National Development Plan and also a call for more commitment to ensure enhanced implementation of the Plan.
  • The current macro-economic situation, economic diversification interventions and job creation, poverty and vulnerability reduction, as well as reducing developmental inequalities.
  • Aspects of a conducive business environment by giving a position on the interest rates and also measures being undertaken by the Government to promote access to finance, especially by the rural community.
  • Updates on the implementation of the e-Voucher and the Social Cash Transfer as well as the performance of other empowerment facilities such as the women and youth empowerment programmes.
  • Updates on what Government is doing to ensure a speedy return to low risk of debt distress and maintaining the debt within sustainable levels.
  • In the agriculture sector, we expect the address to highlight interventions that will focus on increasing agricultural production, stepping up the agricultural diversification programme and improving food security and nutrition.
  • Critical under the mining sector, interventions aimed at promoting value-addition in the sector in a bid to create backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the economy.
  • Trade policy and how it is fairing. What steps has Zambia taken so far to be ready for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)?
  • Enhancement of the industrial clusters and establishment of more youth centres to promote innovation and growth. In the same aspect, the President should also provide updates on the Local Content Policy and any development that have been recorded.
  • A call to the private sector to partner much more with the Government and ease treasury spending.
  • Further call on ministries to enhance working collaborations with policy and research institutions and together collaborate on key development targets as outlined in the National Development Plan.
  • Overall, policy updates, building on from the mid-year Economic Brief by the Ministry of Finance.

The railway system in Zambia is an extensive network of surface transport connecting all major centers of economic activity and is strategically instrumental in facilitating enhanced trade and growth.

However, the railway systems network in Zambia has been operating at a sub-optimal level compared to its capacity.

Tanzania/Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) which is co-owned by Governments of Zambia and Tanzania covers approximately 1,900 km from Kapiri-Mposhi Zambia to Dares-slam in Tanzania.

Key Challenges in the Railway Sector:

  • TAZARA and ZRL have insufficient locomotives and wagons. For instance, by 2014, ZRL had a total locomotive fleet holding of 37, out of which 24 were operational and the balance 13 were defective and extensively cannibalized (Rail News, 2017).
  • The average speed of locomotives is about 40km per hour, which is too slow in modern business and commerce.
  • Lack of reliability and has outdated infrastructure characterized by poor maintenance.
  • Lack of coordination with regional railway companies. For instance, there is weak coordination between ZRL, TAZARA, Spoornet and other railway companies in the region.
  • Rail shipments have also been criticized for lacking proper security.

Planned Railway Projects

The Zambian Government has realized the need for transport infrastructure development, particularly road and rail that would open up export opportunities.

  1. The Chipata-Petauke-Serenje Railway line was recently approved for construction to complete the link from the port of Nacala to the existing railway lines in Zambia and thereby establishing Chipata as a dry port on the eastern border of the country.
  2. The Zambian Government has committed itself to the development of railway sector through proposed construction and development of various railway lines as indicated in the table below:

Government Interventions to Increase Railway Freight

  • The Government’s nullification of the concession with the Railway System of Zambia (RSZ) in 2012, which lead to an eighteen percent growth in the traffic of the ZRL between 2012 and 2017.
  • In 2012, the Government decided to allocate about USD 120 million into ZRL in order to increase tonnage capacity and enhance the rolling stock. Consequently, tonnage carried was increased to 732,284 tonnes in 2013 and closed around the 959,956 tonnes in 2014 after ZRL allocated USD 81.8 million towards railway infrastructure and USD 38.2 million towards rolling stock in 2012.
  • In October 2018, The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Board had approved an investment of $850 million into rail infrastructure and rolling stock for Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL). The investment was important because it was a wholesome package which attends to the entire capacity constraints of ZRL
  • Government brought into effect the Statutory Instrument to compel transporters of heavy cargo to move 30 percent of bulk cargo from road to railway in January 2018. This was done in a bid to optimize the transport sector and promote the sustainability of rail subsector.

Recommendations

Government has intentions of developing rail spurs in intracity transit systems. As PMRC we recommend that Government should strictly utilize Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to access private financing given the constrained fiscal space. Government needs to further explore other forms of engaging the private sector through;

  1. Service Contracts
  2. Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance
  3. Equipment Ownership and leasing
  4. Management Contracts
  • There is need to dis-bundle the rail line operations, where rail infrastructure development and management are separated from operations by the creation of the Rail Development Agency of Zambia.
  • The Government should continue with the maintenance and upgrading of the rail infrastructure to reach the desired speed of 80 kilometers per hour for freight trains and 120 kilometers per hour for passenger trains.
  • Zambia should engage in Bilateral/Multilateral Railway Route management groups with other countries to collaborate on rail use and infrastructure development to increase volumes and ensure the suitability of the rail sector.
  • Government needs to put in place regulatory bodies to monitor market performance, competition and even safety issues. Currently no regulator is installed in Zambia for the railway sector except the General inspector of railways, based in the Ministry of Communication and Transport.

The Electronic Voucher Farmer Input Support Programme (e-Voucher) was fully implemented during the 2017/2018 farming season after a successful pilot of two farming seasons before. There have been notable implementation successes such as; reduced Government expenditure associated with procurement, transport and storage of inputs. The other successes relate to increased private sector participation in input distribution, beneficiary farmers have wide options of agriculture, livestock and fisheries inputs to choose from and an improvement in beneficiary targeting among others successes.

However, e-Voucher FISP implementation also faced challenges notably; delays in Government funding; complications in deposit capture due to lack of physical presence by some contracted banks in some districts, poor internet connectivity and poor flow of beneficiary information among other challenges. Consequently, Government was prompted to vary the FISP implementation in the current 2018/2019 farming season with fifty-four districts reverted to the old Traditional Direct Supply of inputs while sixty-one districts, have been maintained on the new e-voucher FISP.

Status of FISP implementation in 2018/2019 farming season

PMRC has noted remarkable improvements with the Zambia Integrated Agricultural Management Information System (ZIAMIS) platform performance which previously was characterized with systems crashes, stakeholders’ competence limitations in the use of the code system and slow processing time. ZIAMIS system improvements and other interventions by the Ministry of Agriculture has led to enhanced beneficiary targeting with over 900,000 farmers making the K400 contributions by December 2018 after being given Authority To Deposit (ATD).

We have however, noted a number of challenges that need urgent attention in as much as over 850,000 farmers having redeemed inputs by the end of 2018 through the direct supply of inputs and e-Voucher FISP. The following are the challenges;

  1. Late payments to suppliers under the ‘Direct Supply of Inputs FISP mode’ who in some instances opted to withhold input stocks.
  2. Late payment and backlog of pending payments to some agro dealers which has affected their cash flow and consequently affected operations with some being forced to suspend operations.

These challenges need to be adequately addressed to ensure smooth implementation of E voucher and also attain the programmes broader objectives

As PMRC we earnestly propose that the Government to re-strategize the funding modalities of the FISP and consider upfront complete funding of the entire programme as opposed to the phased funding to assure programme reliability and prompt agro-dealer payment starting with the current farming season. This would ensure sustainability.

To further develop agricultural produce marketing capacity in remote areas and increase the volumes of agricultural produce traded and facilitate fair prices leading to better profits and income to smallholder farmers, Government needs to focus attention on the state of feeder roads in addition to high-ways that have received considerable attention. To ensure effective linkage between the small-holder farmers and markets, Government through the Road Development Agency (RDA) should conduct routine grading of feeder roads.

The effective implementation of FISP given the favorable rainfall forecast for this season should be anchored on reliable and timely funding and resolving other perennial challenges in the sector. This will not only guarantee a bumper harvest to ensure food security but also guarantee peoples’ livelihoods.  Effectively, Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will be in a position to meet 500,000 metric tonnes of maize crop strategic reserves. The country will also have enough crops to export and do away with the costly export bans and administrative export restrictions that deprived the country of the much-needed foreign exchange.

Recommendations

  1. Government should prioritize disbursement of funds with upfront payment to FISP program
  2. The Government needs to formulate exit strategy for the farmers currently on the FISP programme given the improved beneficiaries’ information storage and processing through the Zambia Integrated Agriculture Management Information System (ZIAMIS) database. This will enable Government to cater for as many eligible farmers as possible in the future.
  3. Government should also prioritize the maintenance of feeder roads to link farmers to the markets to further develop agricultural produce marketing capacity.
  4. We encourage Government to continue with the review of districts reverted to the direct input supply especially those that have enhanced agro-dealer capacity so that they are taken back to e-voucher FISP

7th August 2019 marked another milestone in the diplomatic discourse of Zambia. The day marked the official launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Sub-Regional Center for Southern Africa, housed in Lusaka. The launch was graced by the Republican President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his counterpart President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. This launch came after the Zambian Government, on 23rd September 2018, signed an agreement to establish the centre in Zambia on behalf of the southern African region in order to foster for the implementation of SDGs in Southern Africa, in line with the principles of the African Union 2063 Agenda.

At continental level, following the adaption of the SDGs in 2015, African countries agreed to establish an African institution to promote the implementation of SDGs. In 2016, the SDG Centre, whose headquarters is based in Kigali Rwanda, was established to further this cause and create partnerships across Africa. The objectives are that all countries were acting together in the pursuit of achieving both the African Development Agenda and the Global Agenda.

The Southern Africa SDG Centre in Lusaka Zambia is a strategic institution that will aid with the speedy implementation of the SDGs in the SADC region. Zambia currently hosts the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Sub Region Office).  Zambia also houses The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), an African Union organ. Further, President Lungu is the immediate past Chairperson for The TROIKA, which is the SADC organ on politics defence and security.  All these milestones emphasize the positives of Zambia’s Economic Diplomacy and all-encompassing development approach.

From the above, Zambia continues to score positive strides in its diplomatic relationships, both bilaterally and multilaterally. The establishment of the SDG Centre in Lusaka offers opportunities for Zambia in its implementation of the Global Agenda, AU Agenda 2063 and domestication of the SDGs as the country is implementing the Seventh National Development Plan. Overall, Zambia remains a premier investment destination especially underpinned by the favourable investment climate ranging from political stability, favourable climate, abundant skilled human resources, central location, to its interlink with SADC and COMESA.

The hosting of the Centre in Lusaka offers an opportunity for easy access to information for Government, Academia, Civil Society, research institutions and other stakeholders, especially in relation to SDGs implementation and AU Agenda 2063 indicators for the country and the region, which are essential for decision-making. According to the Seventh National Development Plan, Zambia, in the previous National Development Plans, faced a challenge of lack of data due to the failure of the M&E systems to provide information; therefore, the SDG centre is an opportunity that Zambia can use to capacitate its implementing institutions in data collection through appropriate M&E systems.

With support from the Centre, Zambia will be able to create viable partnerships within and outside the country which are essential in the implementation of SDGs and the National Development Plan.  Additionally, the technical expertise and evidence research findings from the Centre will feed into Government decision-making processes. Overall, the Centre will play a key interlinking role of facilitating collaborations between key institutions in the region, who are all focused towards SDGs implementation. This will further promote integration in the region at institutional level.

Lastly, the housing of the Centre in Lusaka continues to improve the diplomatic status of Zambia and offers opportunity for hosting and housing of several other global and regional centres. This decision further validates Zambia’s stability and peaceful environment which are key drivers for potential international business owners to establish businesses which would benefit the country both socially and economically.

In order for Zambia to harness for opportunities arising from housing the SDG Centre in Lusaka Zambia, there is need for willingness by all stakeholders in the development sphere, to offer support and cooperation for the successful establishment and operations of the Centre.

Zambia’s Economic Diplomacy remains very positive

The sub-sector has over the recent years experienced development making Zambia one of the leading countries in fish farming in the region.  Despite these developments, the sub-sector has still remained in its infancy stage if compared to other sub-sectors in the agricultural sector such as the crop and livestock sub-sectors. The following appear to be some of the factors constraining the sector:

  • To begin with, the aquaculture sub-sector is guided by inadequate policy framework, although Government has developed an aquaculture strategic plan, this plan has not been fully implemented to facilitate for the management of the sector which could enhance fish production.  It is therefore required that Government works with relevant stakeholders to implement best aquaculture management practices which will further develop the sub-sector.  With the introduction of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, there exists an opportunity for improved policy implementation and improved support.
  • Secondly, there have been low levels of investment in the aquaculture sub-sector when compared to other sectors in the economy. However, there is need for a deliberate paradigm shift that would change the development of the sector through research and extension services for meaningful aquaculture development to be actualized spearheaded by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
  • Lastly, there is fragmented coordination amongst stakeholders leading to delays in the implementation of aquaculture strategies, interventions, and policies. It is therefore important for the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to work together with different stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of initiatives that will increase aquaculture production and productivity.

 

BEST PRACTICE IN AQUACULTURE IN AFRICA

There are a number of countries Zambia can learn from best practice for a successful aquaculture sector such as Egypt. The Egyptian aquaculture sub-sector is currently number ten in the world in terms of fish production and the largest in Africa.  This status has been due to a number of interventions that the Egyptian government has implemented in the last four decades targeted on reducing fish imports due to a reduction in capture fisheries and the realization of the economic opportunities of aquaculture.  In 2010 the Egyptian government designed and implemented a National Aquaculture 2030 Strategy, this strategy focused on the development of freshwater aquaculture with an emphasis on cage fish farming and desert fish farming.

 

In order to achieve the 2030 strategy, the Egyptian government implemented a wide range of policy interventions such as;

  • Efficient use of fresh water for fish production through the recirculation aquaculture method of rearing fish, rather than using open ponds.  The choice of this type of fish farming was considered the best for increased productivity because it is done all year round, low water requirement and little space.
  • Financing for aquaculture- the government has made strides in financing aquaculture, although challenges still exist for small-holder farmers to access finance from formal financial institutions when compared to informal credit providers.
  • The Government has created an environment where it has licensed the establishment of fish feed mills within the country for feed production.

From the Egyptian case, Zambia can adopt the policy implementation of an aquaculture strategy to guide the sub-sector development and the use of the recirculation aquaculture system which will ensure whole year-round fish production which will cushion the gap in supply caused by the fish ban.

Download the booklet here:

www.pmrczambia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/The-Aquaculture-Sub-Sector-in-Zambia-Challenges-and-Opportunities.pdf