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The costs of meeting the MDGs in Zambia

Chrispin Mphuka, University of Zambia

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR),
Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR)
Catholic Centre for Justice, Development and Peace (CCJDP)

October 2005

SARPN acknowledges the CSPR as the source of this document -
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Five years ago, the international community agreed and signed up to the United Nations' Millennium Declaration. The promise made then and reaffirmed on successive occasions was that no country would go without the additional resources to achieve the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. This paper is offered in support of that pledge. We have produced an assessment of the costs of achieving the MDGs in Zambia based on the best available data. We have produced a figure for the level of additional finance that is required from financial sources both in Zambia and from the wider aid community. Where data has not been available we have come up with indicative assessments that err on the side of conservative forecasts. Where there has been an absence of hard reliable data, we have made estimates that should be regarded as indicative rather than definitive.

We have constructed Zambia's MDG financing gap - the level of additional funding required - and some MDG policy actions and now look to the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and official donor community to come up with the necessary finance and policy responses to achieve the MDGs. In particular, we look to the official donor community to fulfil their pledge made at the Monterrey Financing for Development Conference and in the G8 Africa Action Plan that no "country genuinely committed to good governance and economic reform should miss out on achieving the MDGs through lack of finance". It is up to all parties now to fulfil their side of this important international development compact.

Our study finds that Zambia will need to increase public investment in social services, basic infrastructure and environmental management. The findings in this paper give provisional estimates of the costs. The estimates suggest that to reach the MDGs, government as well as cooperating partners must double their financing to this area between 2006 and 2015. We also recommend that a much more comprehensive costing exercise should be undertaken with full participation of key stakeholders, especially policy makers and implementers. However, the findings in this study give a good estimate of what resources would be required in order for Zambia to reach the Goals and these results should be acted on with the urgency that our joint poverty reduction efforts require.

The MDGs confer clear sets of obligations on the Zambian government and donor community to address and eventually overcome her development challenges. Classified as one of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and ranked 164 out of 177 countries on the UN's Human Development Index1, the country faces major challenges to overcome poverty and meet the human development targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals.

While the MDGs represent an ambitious set of targets, this paper argues that with renewed commitment, it is possible for the country to overcome the challenges and meet the MDGs. Currently, the government is in the process of formulating a National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP should spell out the objectives and strategies of achieving that vision in the next five years. Another important process taking place is formulation of a Joint Assistance Strategy (JAS) by cooperating partners and government. This paper is intended to guide cooperating partners to harmonise their assistance to Zambia. Without aligning these two processes behind the achievement of the MDGs, there is little hope that these Goals will be met. We believe that the priorities in both the NDP and the JAS must be tailored to meeting the MDGs.

It is our hope that this paper will help in setting the right priorities and funding levels, in the NDP and JAS, to meet the Goals. The key purpose of our paper is to deduce the total investment required in order for Zambia to reach its MDGs and also come up with the additional financing requirements for reaching the MDGs. Government, and cooperating partners (and in one projected scenario private households) are assumed to contribute to this effort.

  1. This is a ranking according to the latest Human Development Index for 2004 published by the UNDP.

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