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The Unique Face of Poverty and Vulnerability in Zambia: Shocks, Deteriorating Economic Conditions, and HIV/AIDS

Sponsor: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation
Presenter: Valerie Kozel (HDN)

Description: Rich in human and natural resources, Zambia once appeared to be a pace-setter for Africa's economic and social development. At Independence in 1964, Zambia was one of the continent's wealthiest nations. Now it ranks among the poorest, due in large part of decades of poor management and deteriorating economic conditions, exacerbated by external shocks e.g. droughts, flooding, conflict in neighboring countries, a collapse in copper prices. The Zambian people suffer from a high burden of disease. HIV/AIDS has extracted a terrible toll on the country -- in 2001, HIV/AIDS prevalence was estimated at 18 percent for adult women and 13 percent for men, and Zambia will soon enter its third decade of double-digit HIV/AIDS prevalence. Malnutrition among children is high and rising, and malaria is widespread throughout the country. 

Zambia's growth prospects have improved:  after two decades of economic decline, economic growth averaged over 4% p.a. between 2000 and 2005 and there are signs of early, albeit limited, improvements in poverty and living conditions. Despite Zambian people's expectations being very high, growth remains subject to the vagaries of weather and copper prices, and the country will carry with it the burden of its history as it moves forward into the future. 

The BBL will discuss key aspects of poverty and vulnerability in Zambia -- with particular focus on exogenous shocks and types of vulnerability -- and identify some of the central policy challenges for reducing poverty in the future. In addition, we will discuss briefly the design and implementation of Zambia's PRSP and what has been its likely role in addressing poverty.


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