By Derrick Silimina
As the year 2023 draws to a close, the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says an examination of Zambia’s economic landscape reveals a nation grappling with a multitude of macroeconomic challenges.
In a statement, CTPD Programs Coordinator Natalie Kaunda said this includes the soaring cost of living, a deteriorating exchange rate, and rising gas prices, which have cast a shadow over the aspirations of countless Zambians.
Kaunda noted that the roots of these economic problems can be traced back to changes in the global economic environment as well as protracted debt restructuring processes for Zambia.
“Despite the formidable hurdles we face, it is disheartening to note that the average household income has largely stagnated. A comparative analysis of income distribution in Zambia over the past decade exposes a disturbing trend of deepening inequality,” she said.
Kaunda noted that while incomes languish at meager levels, the cost of living, as recorded by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, continues its ascent as the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) for October 2023 reached a daunting K9,294.76, up from K8,537.78 just a year ago.
She highlighted that this income disparity is an unequivocal testament to the expanding inequality crisis that Zambia faces adding that this disconcerting scenario underscores the inadequacy of traditional macroeconomic indicators such as the GDP growth rate in assessing the real economic well-being of the majority.
The Zambia Statistical Agency’s 2023 report shows poverty levels have surged to over 60 percent of the population. It is evident that addressing this situation demands not only substantial financial resources but also a well-thought-out strategy for bolstering human development sectors.
“As the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD), we remain unwavering in our commitment to advocating for pro-poor policies that reflect a fair and just distribution of wealth. The growth of the small and medium enterprise sector is paramount in reinvigorating economic activity and diversifying income sources for countless Zambians,” Kaunda stated.
She further added that prioritizing key sectors that drive growth in human development, with a particular focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and children, is indispensable for revitalizing our communities and shielding them against the relentless cost of living.
“It is our collective responsibility to rally behind pro-poor policies, promote equitable wealth distribution, and support measures that uplift the marginalized and vulnerable,” she said.