This article analyzes the economic position of our country to answer just how wealthy is Zambia. It entails the effects and challenges the country is facing. Challenges experienced not limited to social, economic, cultural and political problems caused by many effects. Its not apparently measurable coming up with a figure of just how wealthy is Zambia. But one clear thing been, Its hard to understand why this country is not among the wealthiest countries in Africa. Its one country with some of the richest people and politicians in Africa according to Forbes magazine rankings. People mostly minority, enjoy luxury lifestyle, expensive vehicles belong to them and a few musicians. Wealth of any given country is measured based on health, living standards and reduction in deaths. Other poverty indicators include control of diseases, more industries, infrastructures, low unemployment rate, economic growth etc.
Development indicators seem far from been achieved in Zambia. The illiterate been majority living in this country is another problem of society. Few people ensure right questions get asked, “why Zambia among poor states?”. GNP and GDP employed to show national output and income of an economy shows little growth. But despite been poor, Zambia is home to the mighty wonders of the world. Rivers, lakes and waterfalls are at its disposal including minerals bringing in the country revenue everyday.
Zambia’s Country Profile (Economic Overview)
Zambia is a landlocked country located in southern central Africa with population of 16 million people. There over 70 tribes and more than 72 widely spoken languages. Experienced its share of colonialism until the year 1964 when Zambia has its first elected president. From 1964 to the year 1991 Zambia was under a one party state type of government before having a second republican president Dr Frederick Chiluba. Between 1964 to 2020 the country has had six presidents in total with 3 out the total number of presidents who are dead. Its the only African country having 3 dead presidents within a 10 year period.
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Dead presidents are Dr Frederick Chiluba, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa and Micheal C. Sata. Those alive include DR Kenneth Kaunda, Rupiah Banda and Edgar Chagwa Lungu. People are peaceful, caring and loving, mostly bounded through societal and cultural values. How wealthy is Zambia? well, this country has potential to develop, but more than half of the population live in poverty. Zambia considered the largest producer of copper in Africa. Still the country is vulnerable to diseases, with malaria alone killing thousands per year. Poor drinking water, corruption, poor and infrastructure. It produces over 1 billion metric tons every year exported on the international market.
Industries & Companies
Most industries and companies are ran under a capitalist system. Before the reforms of 1964 initiated by the first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia was operating under a socialist type of government. The Government controlled and regulated everything that involved the economy and companies. Company shares listed on the stock exchange, more than half belong to private investors. ZESCO, a Zambia electric supply corporation publicly owned by the government, is state electric monopoly company.
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This an electric company produces electricity to every home in the national and industries through the industrial grid. ZAMTEL, Zambia’s third largest telecommunication company controlled by the government with its shares split between the private and public sector. Others include Mopani coppers mines, Konkola copper mines (KCM), Kalumbila mine, Kansanshi mine etc . These are the leading mining companies in Zambia, in charge and dealing in the extraction of the local minerals.
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Primarily a government is in charge of regulating tax laws and formulating of policies. Organs of the government practice separation of power through the distinction on the execution of duties. Judiciary, legislature and executive are the three organs of government in charge of making laws, formulating and implementing laws. Process performed through the national Assembly and parliament. Private investors own most companies, people on a small scale and majority of foreigners.
Products exported to generate and contribute to the countries GDP per annually, consists of copper and Mainze. Other goods exported to other countries, includes potatoes and rice. Due to lack of products to convert products into finished goods, Zambia depends on importation. Electronics cars, machinery, equipment among other goods mostly come through the importation process.
Major imports on the top is Hydroxides which cost $800 million dollars, crude oil and Petroleum worth $700 million, Crude Petroleum at an estimated cost of $450 dollars and Nitrogenous Fertilizers $400 million dollars. From exports manly copper makes more of Zambia’s national income with Copper Ore $900 million dollars, Cobalt Oxides and emerald minerals.
Zambia GDP & Economic Growth
The overall growth of the economy began to deteriorate drastically from the year 2019. The country only had an increase of 2.4% from a figure that was recorded in the year 2017 of 4.8%. During these times the country has massively experienced major draw backs in the economy. Low power supply leading to increased hours of load shedding, reduced operational hours and production making companies terminate contracts.
More than 10000 people in Zambia have become jobless, lower employment opportunities. Inflation continues to raise , goods are expensive, making it hard for civil servants to manage buying food and groceries. Lower copper prices and little business opportunities have been experienced and some critics state this is a main reason the country is standing at a higher rate, having more of external debt.
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Contraction of roads, infrastructure, and public facilities drained money stored in the banking reserves. While some criticize the need for government to borrow in order to facilitate the expenditure budget. Currently since 2010, Zambia has never experienced a budget surplus, many times we have seen a budget deficit causing the government to borrow. Money invested in local projects which don’t last long instead of coming with industrialization strategies to help the people of Zambia.
Inflation rate is 9% from 7.5% in the year 2018 to what was 9.2% last year in 2019. The inflation rate situation is expected to even reach at least 10% in 2021 if nothing is implemented to control the situation.
Political Stability In Zambia
Politics in Zambia is one concept you can not overlook. It covers the social, economic and political environment including culture. political cadres and political battles with rivals is a common norm. Political parties fight with the ruling party members both sides now have a bad reputation. The ruling party officials and the largest opposition political party leader Hakainde Hichilema have tried to dialog but to no avail. Politics in this country is more of a tool that increases the gap between the rich and the poor.
Policy structures not formulated, including laws to deal with corruption and plundering of resources. People have allied there support for opposition after noticing the ruling party is going to be a means to an end that’s supposed to eradicate poverty.
Politicians only visit the less privileged and constituents voted for when its time for voting. Afterwards no one see’s then coming there to fulfill there promises. Media houses targeted and closed everyday is a norm. Including the private leading channel in Zambia Prime TV which the government closed for not having coverage of what was required. Government claimed, “Prime TV station is unprofessional.”
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But people state otherwise. The public said, “its the only channel that practices real journalism”. Prime TV stands on ethics of ensuring there is transparency and accountability in government, more especially on public matters.
The main question is, How much does Zambia owe China? the total external debt is 15 billion, plus other loans borrowed from China in 2017 worth 7 billion USD. Due to the accumulated debt crisis Zambia is one country that has fallen in the financial trap china is using in Africa that involves debt. China’s debt trap diplomacy has made Zambia victim and China been the largest credit lender to this nation. Everything in Zambia, resources and mines China has a hand in it. With little effort allowing it to take over major assets in Zambia including the electricity company Zesco.
So How Wealthy Is Zambia In The Year 2020?
Looking at the data above and analytics unfortunately Zambia is very poor. More than 60% of people live in complete poverty, experiencing poor living standards and inequality. 17 million population earns less than 1 dollar per day, high unemployment rate, making more people look for jobs everyday and poor sanitation. It would take serious economic reforms, polices, industrialization, repaying of debt and change of government structure to improve this nation. Debt write off is an initiative government has employed. Chinese citizens have been coming to in form of making investment, but in the actual sense its no difference than Neo-colonialism.