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Zambia Drivers of pro-poor change: an overview - Summary version

Foreword and disclaimer

This is a summary version of a longer paper of the same title.

The importance of Zambia’s achievements over recent decades in contributing to the end of white minority rule in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, in creating a relatively stable state in which neither ethnicity nor race have so far predominated, and in avoiding the worst of repression that has at times characterised Malawi and that may be taking root in Zimbabwe, should not be underestimated. Yet the principal emotions in the country, after over a quarter-century of economic decline, faced by the catastrophe that HIV/AIDS now represents, and in the light of growing recognition of the scale of corruption, are those of disappointment with the past, and confusion as to what went wrong. There is currently fear of what the future holds, growing anger at the emerging evidence of the scale of recent abuse of public resources, and, in some quarters, lack of confidence that a way forward can be found. Many young trained Zambians emigrate, seeing no reason to remain.

The purpose of this paper is to help to create a more informed basis for the Department for International Development’s Zambia Country Assistance Plan, currently under preparation. The authors of this paper do this through identifying some of the factors that have underpinned past performance and that affect future prospects. Much of the focus is on political processes. Some of the judgements made are blunt, and many will be contentious. The team, which was given a good deal of room for manoeuvre in determining its approach, takes the view that it is better to be frank, as were many of the people interviewed. The paper has been written with the understanding that it will be made available for public debate.

It was prepared by a team comprising Alex Duncan (team leader and economist), Neo Simutanyi (political scientist) and Hugh Macmillan (historian), advised all too briefly by Dennis Chiwele (economist) and Peter Burnell. Astrid Cox and Liswaniso Mulasikwanda provided research assistance. After initial background research, the authors worked in Zambia from January 26th to February 8th, 2003, spending time in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, but did not reach more isolated rural areas. Within these limits, they consulted as widely as possible with people from the media, large and medium-scale private companies, farming, the research community, civil society, Parliament, the civil service, the unions, the Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Commissions, and international agencies.

The paper was commissioned by DFID. However, the views expressed are entirely those of the authors, and should be attributed neither to DFID, nor to any of its staff members, nor to any of the many people interviewed.

The team is very grateful for the assistance and hospitality of many people. We would like to acknowledge in particular Amisha Patel, Sam Gibson, Morgan Mumbwatasai, Gift Madzonga, Grace Chibowa, and Richard Montgomery of DFID.

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