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By Caesar Cheelo and Mwanda Phiri
For some time now, the true extent of the jobs challenge in Zambia has become topics of considerable debate. Indeed this debate has become increasingly more heated in recent times with some members of the Zambian society contesting official statistical figures, which suggest that the unemployment problem in Zambia is not as bad as many believe it to be.
By Hilary Chilala Hazele
Recently the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mr. Trevor Kaunda launched the ZIPAR Flagship project called 'More and Better Jobs'. The Executive Director for the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE), Mr. Harrington Chibanda sits on an Advisory Group which will guide this project in the next 18 months. One key aspect of ZIPAR's project is its desire to reach out to business to help find solutions to some of the greatest challenges that Zambia faces: high levels of unemployment and low productivity among the employed.
By Shebo Nalishebo
In light of the Finance Minister Hon. Alexander Chikwanda’s announcement to Parliament that the budget deficit has ballooned from the earlier projected K8.5 billion to K20 billion, among the measures that government may have to consider to plug this deficit is going back to the international sovereign bond market. Now is a good time to think hard about how to manage the risks associated with increased government debt. Since 2012, Zambia has borrowed US$1.75 billion worth of what are called Eurobonds. Zambia’s first Eurobond worth US$750 million was issued in 2012, while the second one worth US$1 billion was issued in 2014. In 2014, these Eurobonds accounted for nearly two-fifths of the debt we owe other countries.
Since 2013, the Kwacha has lost more than forty percent on the back of falling metal prices and legislative drawbacks. As it is well known, Zambia’s exports strongly depend on metals: copper and cobalt. About three quarters of foreign earnings still accrue to metals, a feature that has amplified the exposure of the country to global fluctuations.
Zambia can achieve remarkable economic growth that can reduce poverty and create descent employment by industrializing. Recent renewed interests towards industrialization by the Government and SADC are laudable.
By Felix Mwenge
The 2013-2014 Zambian Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) report was officially launched recently by the Central Statistical Office. The ZDHS is an internationally recognized survey that collects nationwide information on various health and population related issues, useful for health, demographic and social development planning.
The current ZDHS is arguably very timely for at least two reasons. Firstly, the Revised Sixth National Development Plan (rSNDP) will come to an end in 2016 and the ZDHS can give insights about the achievement of health outcomes during the rSNDP period and where gaps remain. This is important for drafting the Seventh National Development Plan which will follow.
By Caesar Cheelo
At an African Researcher's Conference years ago, a brief exchange between two participants revealed vividly the divergent mentalities of African thinkers.
One participant seemed convinced that the West had become stringent about testing the compliance of African originating foods with required standards on quality and consumer safety. His conspiracy theory was that this stringency was a deliberate ploy to unfairly restrict African food products from entering Western markets and to rob Africa of every possible opportunity to expand its global food trade.