Zambia has immense potential for agricultural development given the favourable agro-climatic conditions, which are suitable for production of a diverse variety of crops and livestock in nearly all parts of the country.

However the sector’s contribution to GDP has been unstable and declining in the recent past to around 2-3% with relative decline in the last few years (15.60% in 2010 to 2.73% in 2019 (Source: World Bank, 2020)

According to Mulenga et al., 2020 in the Agricultural Status Report, the decline and contraction in agricultural output could be attributed to high precipitation variability which affected rain-fed production systems especially smallholder farmers.

However recently the sector has shown positive improvements due to the good rainfall distribution and bumper harvests.

The agriculture share of the budget has for many years failed to meet the Maputo declaration where African states are to allocate a minimum of 10% of the national budget to help achieve the 6% annual growth rate. This year, the allocation to the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) and strategic food reserves in the 2022 budget are K5.4 billion and K960 million compared to K5.7 billion and K517 million allocated in the 2021 budget respectively. The allocation to FISP is down by K3 million in 2022 compared to the 2021 budget while there is a notable increase in the allocation to strategic food reserves (FRA) by K443 million.

These changes in allocation especially on FISP has negative consequences in terms of increasing production and productivity unless prudence in the implementation of the programme is followed. Government announced a new comprehensive support program for the Agriculture sector, which commences in the 2022 – 2023 farming season. As PMRC we note that for this programme to be successful, an all encompassing and comprehensive review of E-voucher (E-FISP) and Direct Input Supply (DIS) will be required for FISP by key stakeholders to arrive at the best mode programme delivery.

Previous studies have shown that if well implemented E-FISP has the ability to enable Government reduce the stress on the treasury as this removes corruption, racketeering, administrative costs and transportation costs (Baltzer & Hansen, 2012). Operating the Direct Input Supply (DIS) system will require improving monitoring systems and enhancing transparency to ensure quality inputs with improved targeting of eligible beneficiaries.

The 2022 budget focuses on addressing the problems of low production and productivity, limited agricultural market, underdeveloped value chains and the reliance on rain-fed agriculture taking into account the effects of climate change and variability. The budget commits to increasing production and productivity by the development of farm blocks, irrigation infrastructure and agricultural mechanization.

These measures are capable of supporting crop diversification and increase the output in the sector if implemented as planned.

Notably the 2022 budget has seen great increase in the funding of research and development under the Ministry of Agriculture from K5, 957,500 in 2021 to K25, 146,955, although timely disbursement of allocated funds will be critical in realising research impacts on productivity.

Another notable feature of the budget is Government’s commitment to recruit more livestock extension officers to enhance the provision of services to livestock farmers as well as  empower youths and female-headed households through livestock stocking and re-stocking as well as support for livestock infrastructure, however there is no indication on the number of personnel to be recruited. In addition, the budget presents a significant increase in allocation to livestock disease control from K2, 825,000 in 2021 budget to K96, 398,266 in the 2022 budget, and this will effectively combat major livestock diseases across the country to enhance productivity in the livestock sub-sector.

The fisheries sub-sector, produced 94,943 and 45,670 metric tonnes from our natural water bodies and under aquaculture in 2020 respectively. During the same period, the country imported an estimated 80,000 metric tonnes of fish. The sub-sector has potential to meet domestic demand, penetrate regional export markets and contribute significantly towards job creation. It is therefore critical that the subsector be adequately supported to increase its output. Enforcement measures such as fishing ban ought to be strengthened in the water bodies to allow for fish breeding. Additionally, there is still room to increase the activity in aquaculture hence the need for more support to supplement the efforts and strides scored by Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development (ZAEDP) especially that funding to the fisheries production and productivity improvement programmes allocation has reduced drastically from K397, 170, 248 to K139, 605,511.

PMRC notes that in order to increase the output in the Agriculture sector, we need to urgently address challenges of climate change and variability in order to improve production and productivity in the sector. PMRC commends Government on the proposed measures and proposes the following:

Recommendations

  • In the face of climate change, Government is urged to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture by ensuring the expansion of irrigational infrastructure and facilitate concessional finance to propel crop diversification.
  • Government is encouraged to re-consider the position taken on e-Voucher and improve the system at all levels of implementation to enhance efficiency in the delivery of inputs as it has proved to be a better option in comparison to Direct Input Supply (DIS) if well implemented, it will allow Government to save resources. These measures must be considered as Government embarks on the development of a New Comprehensive Support Programme to be implemented in the 2022-2023 agricultural farming season.
  • In the aquaculture subsector, there is need to provide additional funding for  the establishment of additional aquaculture parks as well as research and development to increase in fish production in order to meet the country’s fish local demand and export market.
  • In order to grow and boost the country’s export potential, Government is urged to focus on diversifying away from maize, towards more value addition centered agricultural output especially that the country is well positioned regionally to maximise benefits from the export of diverse value added agricultural goods.

Education and Skills Development

The education sector is a critical pillar in achieving human and social development as it directly contributes to a skilled labour force and is essential for growing the economy as well as reducing poverty. As global trends evolve, the need to link skills with labour market demands cannot be over-emphasised. However, Zambia’s education sector is characterised by a myriad of challenges that include; inadequate financial and human resources, poor education quality and low progression rates, among others. These challenges tend to be higher in rural areas due to developmental inequalities, where access to quality education has continued to be affected by distance, poor infrastructure, lack of teachers and inability to pay user fees. Consequently, this impacts development as high levels of unskilled personnel may not be able to significantly contribute to the growth of the economy.

In line with Government’s aspirations to make quality education accessible to all, the 2022 budget has allocated K18.1 Billion representing 10.4% of the National Budget to the sector. This is an increase by 32% in comparison to the subsequent allocation of K13.8 Billion in 2021. Government has also set aside K2,188,592,645 to support school operations and K694,331,744 for school infrastructure as well as K199,787,477 for skills development.

Several measures have been put in place to improve access to quality education. For instance, Government seeks to recruit 30,000 teachers in 2022 at a cost of K1.7 billion in a bid to guarantee quality education by reducing the teacher-pupil ratio. Another measure set to improve access to education will be through the construction of an additional 120 secondary schools to be financed through a loan obtained from the World Bank. Like primary school education, access to secondary schools is limited in rural areas, hence there is need for Government to target rural areas in order to address challenges such as low progression rates and distance to schools. Moreover, the continued investment in the development of school infrastructure should be targeted towards increasing the number of STEM schools across the country in order to nurture innovation through science and technology which is an essential tool for development and will help advance the country’s technological skills base.

As a means of ensuring equitable opportunities for the girl child, Government will continue to address gender specific challenges that the girl child faces such as walking long distances to school, early marriages, menstrual hygiene and unwanted pregnancies. In this regard, Government will increase beneficiaries on the Keeping Girls in School Programme from the current 28,964 in 2021 to 43,520 girls in 2022.

To realise Government’s aspiration for free education from primary to secondary level, user fees such as Parent Teachers Association (PTA), examination fees and tuition fees will be abolished. Furthermore, to cover boarding facilities, bursary schemes will be introduced for vulnerable learners through the K792,226,102 reserved under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). To ensure this is realised, the provision of teaching and learning materials, grants to primary schools will be increased three-fold in 2022. Further, grants from the Government to public schools will be increased to meet the operational costs that were previously financed by the fees. The removal of school fees is a significant relief for many households as this money can contribute towards other basic needs for the family such as nutrition.

PMRC commends Government for the proposed recruitment of teachers and urges them to decentralize the recruitment process in order to reduce incidences of teachers requesting for transfers. Equally, there is need to look into issues that will act as incentives for more teachers to take up places in rural areas. This is critical for achieving the provision of equitable quality education and bridging the gap between urban and rural learners. Similarly, the removal of user fees in the education sector will allow for greater retention rates among learners from vulnerable households.

Recommendations

  • PMRC urges Government to conduct curriculum assessments in order to adequately equip learners with the necessary skills such as those in Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology so as to effectively respond to societal needs.
  • Government is urged to continuously conduct skills audits among teachers in order to build capacity to improve the quality of education imparted on learners.   
  • PMRC urges Government to apply the bursaries to be accessed under CDF on an equitable basis for learners in rural areas in order to improve progression rates.

Health Sector

Access to health care is a basic human right and a critical pillar towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, securing qualified health personnel and providing adequate funding to the sector will enhance the quality of care accessed and the provision of services.

Government has allocated K13.9 Billion representing 8% of the total 2022 budget. This is an increase by 44% in comparison to K9.7 Billion in 2021. Other allocations are towards drugs and medical supplies at K3.4 Billion which represents more than double the allocation in the 2021 budget towards drugs and medical supplies, COVID-19 vaccines at K704,275,000, operations for hospitals at K883,249,509 and health infrastructure at K1.6 Billion.

Furthermore, Government seeks to recruit 11,200 health care personnel as well as place health workers that have been working without a salary on payroll. This measure will not only help address the high unemployment rate but will also help Government achieve its goal of enhancing the quality of health care across the country. In light of the critical need for improved health care in the face of COVID-19, the recruitment of health personnel and securing funding towards acquiring more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will help Government reach its vaccination rollout targets.

Government will also continue to invest in health infrastructure development through the construction and completion of health facilities. This is a critical area of focus especially in rural areas where barriers in the access to health services continue to undermine the quality of life of citizens. Another key area that needs investment is in the provision of drugs, medical supplies in health facilities and specialised medical care and skills in order to respond to the health needs of the people. This will help Zambia become an attractive healthcare hub in the region. Facilities such as Maina Soko Military Hospital, Cancer Disease Hospital and Lusaka Specialist Hospital are key examples that can put Zambia on the map for health tourism. This will also help the Government save on medical evacuations to India and South Africa for specialized health services. Therefore, we urge Government to prioritise modernising and equipping of health facilities.

PMRC commends Government for setting up measures to improve supply management systems that will ensure availability of essential medicines and medical supplies through the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency in accordance with the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency Act No.9 of 2019. Further, PMRC commends Government for its commitment to attaining universal health coverage by reforming the National Health Insurance Scheme as this will make quality health services affordable and accessible to all.

Recommendations

  • PMRC commends Government for an increased budgetary allocation towards the provision of health services, however, we urge Government to continue to strive towards attaining the 15% target as set in the Abuja Declaration.
  • Further, PMRC urges Government to urgently strengthen procurement systems in the health sector to resolve the various challenges highlighted in the Auditor General’s report. This can be done through strict adherence to the Zambia Public Procurement Act and enforcement of measures to curb wastage of resources.
  • Finally, there is need for Government to exploit public-private partnerships in order to advance Zambia’s health sector to become a hub for medical tourism. Equally, innovative ways of financing the health sector will improve the quality of services accessible to citizens.

Water and Sanitation

Government has been making significant strides in the water and sanitation sector as evidenced by the various projects it has embarked on such as the National Urban and Rural Water Supply Programme. These projects have been implemented in Kafue, Nakonde, Chinsali and Chongwe. Furthermore, projects such as the Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage Projects are targeted to benefit about 90,000 residents once completed while similar projects are also being implemented in Kafulafuta, Serenje and Mufumbwe districts.

Government with the help of its cooperating partners will continue to undertake a number of water and sanitation projects to improve access to clean and safe drinking water as well as to provide sanitation services. The 2022 budget has increased the allocation in this by 9% from K2.2 Billion in 2021 to K2.4 Billion with additional financing of K145,323,866 under the Millenium Challenge Account.

PMRC commends Government for its continued efforts to improve access to clean water and sanitation, particularly in rural areas in order to address challenges of long distance to points of safe drinking water for communities.

Moreover, the removal of application and registration fees to drill domestic boreholes will help increase access to water across the country. However, more efforts need to be made to safeguard the quality of underground water and reduce contamination. Similarly, there is need to improve drainage systems and solid waste management systems across the country to address issues such as flooding and the indiscriminate disposal of waste as this impacts sanitation particularly in urban and peri-urban areas. There is also an urgent need to scale-up efforts to reach vulnerable sections of society, as basic sanitation has continued to be a challenge in many communities.

Recommendations

  • Government is encouraged to expedite the implementation and completion of various water and sanitation projects across the country in order to achieve equitable access to clean water and decent sanitation for all.
  • Government is urged to improve the drainage systems and solid waste management systems in order address the challenges faced from flooding during the rainy season and the indiscriminate disposal of waste as this impacts on sanitation.

Social Protection

Social protection is key in reducing vulnerability among poorer sections of society and is a critical policy measure to promote access to basic social amenities that impact on the quality of life. Social protection programming supports development through building human capital, thus breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty and promoting the reduction of both social and economic inequalities. Programmes such as the Social Cash Transfer, Food Security Pack are essential social safety nets that safeguard livelihoods.   

In the 2022 budget, social protection has received an allocation of K6.3 Billion representing 3.6% of the National Budget. This allocation is an increase by 31% from the K4.8 Billon allocated in 2021. The Social Cash Transfer (SCT) has been allocated K3.1 Billion, while the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) stands at K2.1 Billion and Food Security Pack (FSP) at K1.1 Billion.

The budgetary increment on various programmes will facilitate the upscaling of beneficiaries. Under the SCT, beneficiaries will be adjusted upwards from 880,539 to over one million in 2022. Equally, the transfer amounts will be increased from K150 to K200 per month and from K300 to K400 per month for households with persons with disabilities. In order to support the most needy in society, PMRC notes that there is need for strengthening human resources in the department of social welfare at ward level to improve the targeting of beneficiaries with the help of community members. While scaling up beneficiaries is commendable especially given the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on many households which further exacerbated their vulnerability through loss of income, PMRC suggests the need to link vulnerable households on various social protection programmes to empowerment programmes in order to progressively uplift them from poverty and enable them to effectively participate in development. In addition, PMRC has been advocating for Government to shift from the traditional cash pay-outs to beneficiaries to a more cost effective and efficient electronic pay-out of SCT benefits as a cost saving measure. Furthermore, there is need to strengthen measures aimed at providing timely and predictable disbursement of funds in order to cushion further vulnerability on beneficiary households.

The Food Security Pack Programme has also been earmarked for upscaling from 263,700 to 290,000 households in 2022.  This Programme is targeted at the vulnerable but viable farmer households. Similarly, other social protection interventions that will be scaled up include the Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Programme, the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, Public Welfare Assistance Scheme, and Child Welfare Programmes.

In order to safeguard the livelihoods of pensioners, the 2022 budget has committed funds towards the settlement of pension benefit arrears for retired public service workers that stood at K1.2 Billion. The allocation towards this settlement is K2.1 Billion which is in excess of the arrears in order to curtail further accumulation of arrears. This also indicates that Government has prepared for the next cohort set to retire. Therefore, PMRC commends Government for its efforts to dismantle the arrears owed to pensioners as this will enable them to live dignified lives after work and improve their quality of life. Further, Government is set to review and amend legislation such as the Public Service Pensions Act Cap 260 of the Laws of Zambia, Local Authorities Superannuation Fund Act Cap 284 of the Laws of Zambia and the Pension Scheme Regulation Act No. 27 of 2005 in order to restructure the current pension system to allow workers to access accrued benefits before retirement. This is a commendable measure that will empower citizens to access their pension contributions for personal investment and development. In addition, the funds accessed under this programme will act as a source of capital for personal ventures that will contribute to uplifting their livelihoods and enable them to continue contributing to the growth of the economy.

Recommendations

  • PMRC recommends that Government expedites the shift to electronic platforms for the administration of the social cash transfer in order to improve the security of funds as well as cut down on administrative costs.
  • PMRC urges Government to link beneficiaries of various social protection programmes to empowerment programmes in order to sustainably uplift beneficiaries out of poverty.
  • PMRC recommends that Government expedites legislative reforms governing pension benefits in order to further empower citizens to access pension contributions for personal investment and development.

Equitable access to and ownership of land is cardinal for fostering socio-economic empowerment for all. However, key sections of society such as women, youth and Persons with Disabilities have continued to face barriers in the acquisition and ownership of land. This is partly attributed to social practices and beliefs as well as the lack of economic inclusion, which have excluded certain section of society from owning land by virtue of their socio-economic status, physical ability and gender.

The United Nations Charter of 1945 which Zambia is signatory to, recognises human rights and economic and social development as closely interrelated. The Charter acknowledged the implications of insecure land tenure on people’s livelihoods, dignity and survival. Hence, there is need for changes in societal norms to ensure that vulnerable groups have uninhibited access to land, secure land rights and are empowered to make their own decisions about land use.

Given the dual nature of Zambia’s land tenure, women, youth and Persons with Disabilities tend to hold land on customary tenure because it is cheaper and relatively easier to access than state land. However, the lack of security of land due to inadequate documentation to claim ownership has made it easier for people to be displaced. Recognising this challenge, Government has been rolling out a National Land Titling Programme in order to secure land ownership rights to land holders. Still, there is need to amend the 1995 Lands Act in order to recognize and guarantee customary land rights.

As a fulfilment to Government’s commitment to uphold human rights, the 2021 National Lands Policy was instituted to address the various challenges related to access and control over land and its resources with special recognition to women, youth and Persons with Disabilities. This is especially important since securing land rights reduces their vulnerability through increased individual agency and socio-economic status.

Several policy measures have been put in place in order to allow for equitable land distribution. These include; facilitating ownership of land by Zambian citizens in order to promote decent livelihoods and socio-economic development, regulating the land ownership of non-Zambians in order to facilitate reasonable access to land, achieving a gender sensitive and youth friendly land sector which is inclusive of persons living with disabilities and other socially marginalized groups, strengthening the land allocation mechanisms in order to improve security of tenure, among others.

Additionally, land distribution quotas have been effected in order to improve access and ownership of the resource. Government has revised land distribution quotas to 50% of available land for alienation being reserved for women and 20% for the youth and Persons with Disabilities. This pronouncement is also in line with promoting gender equality and socio-economic inclusion of women, the youth and Persons with Disabilities as envisaged in the National Gender Policy, National Youth Policy and National Disability Policy. It has also aided in uplifting livelihoods and enhancing greater participation of all citizens in national development.

Furthermore, Government’s revision of the contractual age for youths to own land from 21 to 18 years will make land more accessible to young people and enable them to contribute to the growth of the economy by venturing in agricultural and entrepreneurial activities. This affirmative step will empower women, youths and Persons with Disabilities through ownership of assets which can be used as collateral to obtain financing from formal financial lending institutions such as banks. These policy measures need to be implemented effectively in order to enhance access and ownership of land to key groups and other marginalised persons in line with Government’s aspirations of promoting gender equality, inclusivity as well as equitable distribution of the country’s resources.

Zambia is a landlocked but linked country with a large landmass of 752,600 km2 out of approximately 58% of the arable land is classified as medium to high potential for agricultural production. Zambia’s economy has heavily depended on the mining sector contributing approximately 77% of its export value but fluctuations in commodity prices on the international markets makes the sector nonpredictable. Therefore, Government’s strategic focus must now embrace economic diversification and reinvigorate the agriculture sector as one of key drivers of economic growth.

The agriculture sector plays a critical role in economic growth and job creation for the rural poor population despite being underdeveloped. Agriculture contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaged 9.8 per cent in the period 2006 -2015. The last few years saw a significant rainfall variability that impacted negatively on rain-fed production systems for smallholder farmers and commercial irrigated agriculture due to disruptions in the energy sectors leading to a fluctuating and low sector GDP contribution mainly due to crop failures in 2015 and 2018. However, despite the sector’s negative contribution recently, it is projected that agriculture GDP will increase even further this year due to the favourable weather and bumper harvests recorded.

Agricultural Development and Strategic Actions

Since Zambia’s independence, the agricultural revolution has been driven by state interventions mainly focusing on input supply and centred on maize production hence the failure to deliver a diversified food system which has resulted in poverty, malnutrition, vulnerability to drought, pests and diseases due to climate change and weather variability.

Whilst the Zambian National Agricultural Policy (NAP-2004) and the Revised National Agricultural Policy (RNAP-2016) recognizes crop diversification as one of the key measures to achieving food and nutrition security and agricultural transformation, challenges related to mono-cropping and a policy exercise that is aligned to promote maize production limits the extent of crop diversification agenda. Crop diversification is pivotal in addressing food and nutrition security, mitigating risks of crop failure and market uncertainties, mitigating price risks, and important in stabilizing, diversifying and enhancing farm incomes. Furthermore, this will result in the establishment and support to private sector-led manufacturing industries to produce inputs (seed, fertilizer and agrochemicals) and mitigate natural shocks such as drought by adopting climate-smart agriculture technologies.

The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to accelerate the finalization of the Crop Diversification Strategy which has the potential to spur the agricultural industry through value addition (agro-processing), poverty reduction, sustainable environmental management and a sustainable nutritionally diversified food system. For Zambia to achieve this, an increase in the availability and access to diversified seed types through a strongly supported seed policy framework is a must. Zambia’s current seed quality assurance system is one of the best in Africa encompassing the Plant Variety and Seeds Act (CAP 236), Plant Breeders’ Rights Act No 18 of 2007 and their respective regulations. The affiliations to international bodies like International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has further strengthened Zambia’s position to deliver quality diversified seed types. These measures are capable of delivering a system that is capable of supporting the Government’s crop diversification agenda especially when the country enjoys a favourable climate and policy environment.

In addition to the production of diversified crops, value addition through the establishment of processing hubs and complete transformation of Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to Electronic voucher System allowing farmers to have a choice on available diversified seed types, is critical to a successful crop diversification agenda. Furthermore, the Food Reserve Agency need to rethink their marketing strategy by increasing the number of strategic crops to purchase, in line with SI No.73 of 2012, to include crops such as rice, cassava, soya beans and other food legumes to support the crop diversification agenda.

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) anticipates that the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture will promote strategies for agriculture that will lead to utilization of a variety of food crops, embrace value addition and allied products to increase the geographical space in terms of nutrition and food security for Zambia.

 

Climate change continues to pose a significant challenge to Zambia’s economic recovery, having cost the country an estimated 0.4% (US$13.8 billion) in GDP growth between 2007 and 2016.

It is projected that over the next 10-20 years, losses in key sectors such as agriculturee, will reach approximately US$2.2-3.1 billion, largely due to waterlogged fields, water shortages, destruction of crops, and a high incidence of crop and livestock diseases. In the energy sector, poor rainfall during the 2015/2016 season led to a 600MW decline in the country’s hydropower generation. Other sectors that have been affected by climate change include; manufacturing, health and water.

In order to manage these effects, the Zambian Government through its National Policy on Climate Change, has started to mainstream adaptation and mitigation measures across all policy and programme interventions to re-build the resilience of the economy. However, there are various challenges to the effective implementation of the climate change policy due to the following;

Firstly, there is an inadequate capacity in the development of bankable climate change adaptation/mitigation proposals. Additionally, Zambia has very little proper and concise domestic financing to implement climate change related projects. Another challenge that is faced is the lack of strong partnerships between the Government and the private sector on climate change related projects. Moreover, there is a need for more extensive data collection on climate change impacts in Zambia, such as on biodiversity and ecological systems. Lastly, there needs to be greater emphasis placed on the publicising of climate change related issues to allow the general citizenry to prepare for climate change shocks. Practices such as the cutting of trees for charcoal making and mass land clearing for agriculture must be avoided or done with the utmost caution. However, this can only be achieved by increasing the common citizens awareness levels on the deleterious effects of these practices to the environment.

In order to address the challenges being faced in the implementation of the Climate Change Policy, Government through the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) intends to enhance climate change mainstreaming across all policy and programme interventions to foster resilience in the Zambian economy. Particular attention will be directed to climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water and energy.

The ERP recommends the following if some of these challenges are to be addressed:

There is a need for a stronger commitment by Zambia to both short- and long-term projects that will enable adaptation/mitigation. It is recognized that this can be a very expensive exercise and thus, what tends to happen is that Government funding for climate related issues is usually restricted to merely being reactive (emergency response when floods or droughts occur for example). Additionally, it is imperative that stakeholder’s capacity is enhanced to allow for bankable project proposal development to enable a pipeline of project proposals for submission to multilateral climate funds. Furthermore, there is also a need to enhance domestic resource mobilization for the implementation of climate action: instruments that could be utilized as green bonds. Another recommendation is that Government is urged to establish and strengthen partnerships with the private sector in climate change programmes/projects; as well as promote private sector participation to enhance financing for climate action. Zambia also needs to further build capacity to produce climate change related data, as well as improve existing information systems to better collect data on climate change impacts on biodiversity, ecological systems, and green house gases emissions (GHG). Lastly, systems need to be put in place that effectively raise awareness on climate change, and its potential impacts on social and economic development, livelihoods and ecosystems.

The tourism sector with its feature activities continues to play a key role in the economic growth of Zambia with its key contribution to employment creation, source of foreign exchange, and its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2019, the industry contributed nearly 7% of the GDP and 7.2% of the country’s total employment. During the same period, international visitors spent about $849 million, representing 10% of the country’s total exports. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the tourism sector as measures introduced to contain the virus led to near-complete cessation of tourism activities around the world. The tourism sector in Zambia has experienced significant growth in recent years but the pandemic has negatively affected its growth. Without closing its borders, the number of international visitors declined sharply for Zambia. During the first half of 2020, the country received only 290,244 international tourists compared to 634,757 during the same period in 2019, representing a 56.3 percent reduction.

Zambia’s safari tourism and allied sectors such as Airlines and charters are projected to have suffered a loss in income of about USD100 million in 2020. The Government is cognizant of the challenges faced by the sector and has therefore included tourism as one of the sectors for restoring growth and economic diversification in the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) for the period 2020-2023. During the ERP, Government intends to provide tax incentives and other relief in the 2021 national budget in order to sustain the sector; actualize the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan; Reinvigorate the Livingstone/Northern Circuit; Youth Empowerment Scheme for Artists and support local tourism.

In addition to the priorities in the ERP Government is urged to ensure to restore traveller confidence through adaptation to evolving COVID-19 response measures and utilizing the expanded use of ICTs to publish health and travel related information that can easily be accessed by travellers.

Lastly, the global lockdowns have brought some variable lessons back home on the importance of promoting local tourism, this, therefore, calls for Government through the Zambia Tourism Agency (ZTA) and the tourism businesses in Zambia to continue the promoting of local tourism through suitable packages that will encourage and motivate local citizens to harness the tourism sector.

The manufacturing sector has been pivotal in the realization of Zambia’s economic growth and development and it continues to play a significant role in the country’s industrialization agenda. The manufacturing sector’s value added as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has steadily grown from about 7.6% in 2010 to 8.1% of the GDP in 2018 and has remained stable over the period 2015-2019 with an average growth of about 7.9%. However, the sector’s performance continues to be hampered by the high cost of doing business and an unstable macroeconomic environment. These challenges have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the shrinking of the manufacturing sector by 4.6% in the second quarter of 2020. Recognising the important role that the sector plays in the Zambian economy, Government has therefore included specific measures in the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) to revive growth in the sector and promote stability. One such measure in the ERP is export promotion.

Under export promotion in the ERP, one key action will be to “aggressively pursue export market opportunities through investment promotion missions” in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which Zambia ratified on 5th February 2020. The AfCFTA is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years. The Agreement has been signed by member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of more than US$3 trillion. This large market offers an opportunity for the country to develop and expand its manufacturing sector, which will result in increased job creation, foreign exchange, industrialization and economic growth.

While Zambia’s manufacturing sector is still in its developmental stage, it is important that necessary pre-conditions are put in place that will ensure the country reaps benefits from the AfCFTA market. Firstly, the Government is urged to focus its efforts on raising awareness about how the Agreement can benefit Zambian manufacturers as well as what risks come with it. The manufacturing sector needs to be prepared for the increase in competition that will arise once tariffs are removed and trade under the AfCFTA begins. This kind of support would ensure that Zambian manufacturers are not crowded out by firms from countries with larger economies such as South Africa and Nigeria. Support must especially be provided for small scale producers in order to avoid crowding out in a market run by the private sector. This support can take the form of enhanced technical, managerial and financial skills to meet industry standards. The Government may assist in investment of these attributes.

Secondly, Zambia should focus on building its manufacturing sector. Presently, the primary industry remains the most important one, with agriculture and mining making the most significant contributions to GDP. The implication of a small manufacturing sector for the AfCFTA is that there will be low trade in finished goods which will limit the scope for intra-regional trade. Given the size of Zambia’s agricultural sector, a focus on value addition such as agro-processing could kick start the emergence of a vibrant manufacturing sector. The planned establishment of various fruit processing plants (such as Kalene Hills Fruit Company Limited in North-Western Province and the Eastern Tropical Fruits Company in Eastern Province) will be vital in this regard as they will assist in promoting linkages between agriculture and manufacturing, and consequently promote agricultural exports.

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, social inequalities have become more evident particularly in developing countries were poverty is rampant. Social protection is not only a policy measure that seeks to cushion the effects of poverty and bridge inequality gaps through access to the most basic amenities such as food, water and sanitation, housing, clothing and education among others, it is also a fulfillment of one’s human rights.

Although social protection is often viewed as a consumptive expenditure by some elite sections of society, Governments continue to strive to provide equitable measures that invest in human capital development as a comprehensive strategy to enhance inclusive growth and safeguard livelihoods among the vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. According to the Zambia Living Conditions Monitoring Survey of 2015, 54.4% of Zambians are classified as poor while 40.8% are extremely poor and 13.6% are moderately poor.

These statistics are a major concern and affirm the need for strong social protection programs to cushion the effects of poverty and vulnerability in society, more so in the face of a global pandemic. The Government has responded to the need to alleviate poverty through critical interventions that are aimed at tackling poverty by targeting households that are considered to be most at risk of vulnerability. These include, female-headed households, child-headed households, orphans and vulnerable children, the aged and persons living with disabilities.

The Government has remained resolute to addressing existing vulnerabilities, and expanding social protection initiatives through the upscale of eligible beneficiaries of several social protection programs. In the 2021 National Budget, social protection allocation stands at K4.8 Billion representing 4% of Gross Domestic Products (GDP), which is an upward adjustment in comparison to 2020, and 2019 allocations that stood at 2.4% and 2.5% respectively. Government has been implementing various social protection programs, the largest being the Social Cash Transfer with an allocation of K2.3 Billion in 2021. As a way of safeguarding the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, Government increased the targeted beneficiaries of the program to 994,000 from 700,000 in 2021. Other programs include the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) and the Food Security Pack (FSP), just to mention a few.

One of the negative effects of the pandemic being the disruption of livelihoods and heightened poverty, the increase in beneficiary households could not have come at a better time when an emerging “newly poor” sub-group has been necessitated by the pandemic. Now more than ever, social protection programs across the globe have been stretched to respond to the pandemic by cushioning its effects on individuals and households. In May 2020, the Government and its cooperating partners financed the Emergency Social Cash Transfer to respond to the growing levels of poverty resulting from the loss of income and disruption of livelihoods.

In conclusion, we commend Government for attaining its commitment to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Recommendation 202, on the Global Social Protection Floors that set the initial annual cost of a basic social protection package at about 3.7% to 10.6% of GDP of which the 2021 Government spending on social protection falls within this recommendation.

In the last year, the Zambian economy fell into a deep slump, largely aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Real GDP fell by approximately 4.9% in 2020, after growing by at least 4 % in 2018 and 1.9% in 2019. This sharp contraction in output has been the consequence of an unprecedented decline in key sectors of the economy. Manufacturing output plunged drastically due to the disruption of supply chains, whereas the service and tourism sectors saw a sharp drop in private consumption and investment as a result of the stringent measures taken to contain the COVID–19 pandemic. Mining output, which declined initially due to falling global demand for copper, is recovering amidst production disruptions in South America and the surge in demand occurring in the electric car industry. Sustained commodity price increases beyond the current forecast could lead to further economic contraction. Even before the pandemic, the economy was experiencing serious macroeconomic challenges, such as high inflation, continuous widening fiscal deficits, unsustainable debt levels, low international reserves, and tight liquidity conditions. Price levels and the financial sector have not stabilized, despite Government efforts to deploy monetary easing in 2019 and 2020.

Government in its bid to realise Zambia’s potential to be a prosperous middle-income country by 2030 aims to focus on selected key sectors of the economy to drive forward the economic transformation agenda anchored on the Economic Transformation Programme, which will be the overarching framework used to implement various interventions in different sectors of the economy. The following are four key sectors that Government intends to use to spur the transformation of the country’s economy.

Agriculture

Agriculture plays an important role in the Zambian economy, contributing about 20 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and approximately 12 per cent to the national export earnings. Over 60 per cent of the population derives its livelihood from agriculture, and yet despite this, the sector’s potential has not been exploited fully, chiefly because of dilapidated agricultural support infrastructure; inadequate delivery of extension services; and natural disasters such as drought and floods due to climate change.

Government envisages increasing agriculture’s contribution to economic growth by not only increasing production for food security but also boosting agro-processing and manufacturing for both domestic and export markets. To achieve this agenda, the following areas will be prioritized:

Agricultural Productivity – Agricultural productivity in Zambia significantly falls short of the minimum required thresholds to deliver profitability for farmers, food security, nutritional needs, job creation and poverty reduction. This low productivity is attributed to the use of inefficient production techniques and inadequate access to agricultural inputs, among other factors. Government will improve agricultural productivity to meet household and national food security en route to becoming the regional breadbasket.

Agricultural Extension Services – Government recognises that the provision of agricultural extension services and access to appropriate technology is an integral part of the agrarian revolution. In particular, Government will pursue an extension strategy that will not only ensure national food security but will also improve rural livelihoods.

Market Access – Farmers have been heavily constrained by limited access to markets, mainly because of poor infrastructure such as roads in rural areas, inadequate availability and supply of agricultural information, and insufficient access to financing. A key focus will be placed on connecting the farmer to upstream domestic and international markets with the view to increasing the farmer’s share in final products.

Agri-business Development – This will involve value addition in the entire value chain system, from providing inputs to farmers to connecting with consumers, as well as marketing and distribution. Government will rebrand the agriculture sector as an attractive, commercially viable and modernised occupation, especially among the youth who generally consider farming to be arduous and an occupation for older people.

Tourism

Zambia’s tourism sector boasts of a wealth of natural assets such as waterfalls, lakes, rivers and diverse wildlife species. The sector is an important contributor to the country’s economic development through; job creation, foreign exchange earnings, contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other economic facets. As a major Foreign Exchange (FOREX) earner. Zambia’s tourism industry contributed 7% of GDP (USD 1,701 million) and 7.2% of total employment (469 thousand jobs), whereas international visitors spent USD 849 million, representing 10% of Zambia’s total exports in 2019 (Tabetando, 2020).

Despite its economic contribution, an array of challenges have continued to impact the sector, from the lack of a comprehensive national tourism plan; underdeveloped tourism-related infrastructure; limited investment in the sector by both local and foreign investors; limited tourism product range and scope; inadequate tourism promotion and marketing; low participation by locals in direct and indirect tourism development, Zambia being perceived as a high-cost destination – and recently the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government seeks to remedy some of these challenges by revamping the sector to increase its contribution to GDP and employment. To achieve this, strict adherence and implementation ought to be done with the following measures;

  • Maintaining a stable economic landscape to reduce the cost of doing business, including streamlining license acquisition, easing tax compliance, visa processing and exemptions and improving connectivity.
  • Putting in place a robust tourism marketing to incorporate all tourism products including traditional ceremonies, visual arts, culture, heritage sites and others
  • Promoting tourism diversification to other products.
  • Protecting and making Zambia a haven for wildlife by tightening regulations for the licensing of hunting and control of the processing, sell, import and export of wild animals and trophies.

As the country embarks on an economic transformation agenda, there is a need to extensively rebrand and market the sector both internationally and locally to revive it and maximise its vast natural resources benefits.

Manufacturing

Traditionally, the manufacturing sector has played a key role in helping developing countries facilitate industrialization as well as realise economic growth and development. The contribution of Zambia’s manufacturing sector to GDP remained stable over the period 2015-2019 with an average of about 7.9%. However, the sector’s performance has been hampered by the high cost of doing business and an unstable macroeconomic environment. These challenges were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the shrinking of the manufacturing sector by 4.6% in the second quarter of 2020 (Zambia Statistics, 2020).

To address these challenges and considering the strategic importance of the manufacturing sector to job creation and economic growth, Government intends to put in place an under-structure that facilitates the growth of this sector by not less than 15 per cent by 2026 and to at least 25 per cent by 2031. Some of the measures to be put in place by Government to facilitate growth include:

  • Fiscal discipline and minimize borrowing in the local market so as not to crowd out the private sector;
  • Improve regulatory frameworks and remove administrative barriers to business entry and operations and facilitate the development of high growth sectors;
  • Create an enabling macroeconomic environment, strengthen the public agencies that support private sector development and enhance public-private dialogue;
  • Also, Government will dialogue with all key stakeholders in addressing the various challenges affecting the growth of the manufacturing industry in the country;
  • Furthermore, Government will develop targeted policy incentives that attract large capital inflows with required Zambia equity participation; and lastly,
  • Foster policy linkages with education to build a skilled labour market which attracts capital into target industries.

Mining

Zambia possesses one of the world’s highest grades of copper deposits and is ranked the seventh largest copper producer in the world. Mining contributes over 70 per cent of the country’s foreign export earnings. Zambia also produces about 20 per cent of the world’s emeralds. The mining sector is governed and regulated by the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 11 of 2015, which covers types of mining rights, acquisition of mining rights, rights/obligations conferred on the mining right holder, transferability of mining rights, safety, health and environment requirements, and provides for the environmental protection fund, mineral royalties, fees, and export of minerals.

The main challenges this sector faces are:

  • The lack of local participation in this industry,
  • A lack of transparency and accountability regarding revenue management, and;
  • Uncertainties about energy supply and property rights.

As a result, the country has not managed to fully pass on the benefits of its mineral wealth to the Zambian population. The Government now seeks to redress this by:

  • Undertaking a major mining sector policy reform including tax policy and administration reforms that will bring various stakeholders on board to design a sound policy and administration system, with broad policy consideration that will stand the test of time.
  • Enhancing monitoring and oversight mechanisms and technologies to reliably ascertain the volume and content of mining output for taxation purposes to ensure Zambians receive their fair share.
  • Promoting diversification both within the copper sub-sector through the extension of the copper value chain, and from copper to other minerals by promoting exploration and processing of gemstones and industrial minerals.
  • Promoting small-scale mining as it has closer links with the local economy, generates more local jobs and supports the retention of earnings within the country.
  • Working with communities and investors to ensure that the development agreements entered into with Government balance the provision of incentives with concerns of the communities such as environmental impact and labour issues.

Government is urged to take into consideration all the aforementioned measures, in order to facilitate even more investments – as well as an increase in production from the current levels to a more sustained output that will benefit both the country and the sectors’ investors, which consequently will grow and stabilize the economy.

On 30th July 2021, a report by the Zambia Police revealed that 576 children (571 Girls, 5 Boys) were reported defiled in the second quarter of 2021. These statistics indicate an increase of over 10% from the first quarter of 2021, translating to an average of one child defiled every 3 hours 47 minutes.

This revelation must be of concern to all stakeholders; Government, parents, caregivers, teachers, traditional leaders, CSOs, and church leaders among others. Zambia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which is a legally binding commitment that entails the upholding of basic fundamental rights. Central to this is that every child has the right to life, survival, and development, protection from all forms of violence, abuse, or neglect, an education that enables children to fulfill their potential, be raised by, or have a relationship with their parents and express their opinions and be listened to.   

However, there has been a growing concern on the number of children being sexually abused which is a gross violation of the rights of a child and has long-term physical, emotional and psychological effects on them. These abuses have in some cases been committed by people entrusted to protect the child for example parents, siblings, caregivers, relatives, teachers, pastors among others. The most critical challenges have been the number of cases that go unreported, unnoticed or unspoken of. Cultural norms dictate that sexuality is considered sacred and labeled as a taboo. Therefore, children have been socialised to be silent on matters surrounding sexuality, which largely impacts on their ability to openly discuss issues of sexual abuse with adults. Similarly, cultural norms have further perpetuated a culture of silence and prevented adults from reporting cases of sexual abuse to the police for fear of public ridicule and bringing shame upon the family, thus cases have continued to swept under the proverbial “carpet”. This culture has consequently shielded the violators of children’s rights; exposed children to HIV and other sexually transmitted illness; denied the victims justice and a childhood as well as access to the necessary psych-social support.

In view of this, the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) urges Government to prioritise funding towards child social protection in order to adequately respond to the rising cases of child sexual abuse. There is need to adequately fund Victim Support and the Child Protection Units across the country and enhance sensitization programmes targeted at children and the general public in order to equip them with information and procedures to report against such vices and access to psycho-social counseling. Further, there is need to strengthen life skills among children through in-school curriculum training for children and increased targeting for out-of-school children through the establishment of safe spaces for children and youth to be able to identify various forms of abuse and be able to report them. Furthermore, the Government is urged to put in place strong policy measures aimed at protecting children through enhanced child-protection programs and enforcement of laws against child abuse offenders.

Government is urged to expedite the enactment of the Children’s Code which has been in draft  form for some time now. This is a comprehensive instrument for the protection of the rights of the child.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in the extended closure of schools, PMRC urges Government to establish welfare centres and safe spaces for children whose parents may be under quarantine in health facilities or may need to get away from homes that pose a threat to them. Finally, we call upon every individual to report cases of sexual abuse and protect every child.