stock of maize in a rural area called Chikumba southern province zambia. Picture by Mulumbwa Luchen
Why is Zambia’s wealth unequally distributed among the wealthy, the middle-class and the poor. Why is there such a gap between those that can afford basic needs and those that cannot?. These are the questions that should be answered in order to find lasting solutions to such economic issues.
Despite the fact that Zambia is a land locked country surrounded by eight neighbouring countries, the country holds 6% of the world’s copper reserves making it the fourth largest copper producing country in the world. However, the causes of poverty in mother Zambia are many and can be divided between the internal factors and external factors.
Internal factors include diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and Malaria. Furthermore, high inequality between women and men in various aspects of society continue to undermine the country’s ability for development. In addition to this, gender based violence and early marriages also play a role in causing poverty because most women are condemned to a life of thinking they cannot do what men do and do not have the power to enforce change. Nevertheless, with proper planning and awareness the country can be able to control these internal these factors. However, external factors are much harder to combat because social deprivation makes the poor vulnerable to external factors such as natural calamities caused by drought. The combined effects of poverty and HIV/AIDS condemn Zambia to a large population with food shortage.
Therefore, the external factors cannot be controlled by the government nor the country itself as these factors are caused by for instance climate change. The effect of climate change is that other parts of the country experience drought while other experience extreme floods. The agriculture sector continues to play an important role in Zambia because most families depend on it as a source of their income. With the recent dry weather and lack of rain the country is likely to experience drought and hunger in many parts of the country.
The effect of this drought is that most people that depend on agriculture will not be able to have food, take their children to school as well as other needs that people are required to have. The economic crisis at the moment continues to take a toll on the economy as food prices have gone up, there high levels of unemployment as well as lack of enough maize to feed the country. The government officials, civil society organisations and the donor community are placing the blame for the country’s increasing poverty largely on poor political and economic governance as well as corruption.