Zambia - Introduction
The name Zambia came from the Zambezi River, which rises in the northwest corner of the country and forms its southern boundary. Zambia is Africa's second-largest copper producer, but its economy has been hit by a slump in commodity prices, leading to mine closures and exacerbating its already high unemployment.
Zambia is a landlocked state located in southern Africa. Today, it is faced with the challenges of diversifying its economy, which is 70 percent dependent on copper exports, and accelerating private sector-led growth to address the poverty of its people. For more than a decade, driven by high commodity prices, economic growth averaged more than 7 percent. However, rampant government spending, widespread borrowing, corruption, and inconsistent economic policies left the economy especially vulnerable to external shocks such as instability in copper prices and poor electricity generation. As a consequence, economic growth for 2016 is forecast to be less than 4 percent.
Vision 2030 sets the long-term national development agenda. The vision is for Zambia to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030. Over the next generation, the country aspires to become a strong and dynamic middle-income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all its citizens. It is in this regard that the Zambian Government came up with a national long term plan known as the Vision 2030 which long term development policy scenarios at different points.
With the slowing of bilateral and multilateral financing due to austerity measures in developed economies and the World Bank’s reclassification of Zambia as a lower middle income country, financiers have not provided as many concessional loans to Zambia as previously. The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) instead has borrowed both on the international market through three successive Eurobonds and through contracts with foreign companies to conduct short-term development projects. The government spoke of fiscal consolidation in 2015 and of its intent to restrain spending and reduce borrowing, but has not yet taken concrete steps to do so.
The Vision is being operationalised through the five year developments plans and annual budgets. The socio-economic development objectives enshrined in the Vision 2030 are to: attain and sustain annual real growth of 6 percent (2006-2010); 8 percent (2011-2015); 9 percent (2016-2020); and 10 percent between 2021 and 2030. Other objectives include to attain and maintain a moderate inflation rate of 5 percent; to reduce national poverty head count to less than 20 percent of the population to reduce income inequalities measured Gini-coefficient of less than 40 percent; to provide secure access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities of 100 percent of the population across the country; to attain education for all; and to provide equitable access to quality health care to all by 2030.
Travel in major cities, as well as the major game parks is generally safe during daylight hours. However, serious crimes can and do occur, like armed robberies, home invasions and sexual assault. Vehicle hijackings happen across the country from time to time. Take particular care when approaching locked gateways at night. Don’t stop to give lifts to people at the roadside. Watch out for objects that have been placed to block the road.
Globally calm, Zambia is sporadically exposed to movements of people fleeing from clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or armed groups crossing the DRC / Zambia border. This zone is deprecated except for imperative reasons. If you are traveling in the immediate vicinity of the Congolese border, it is preferable not to leave the main roads and not to drive at night.
Moreover, remnants of war explosives have not yet been eliminated in the north-western province, which borders the DRC and Angola. The same instructions, concerning a circulation limited to the main axes and day, apply.
Road travel at night in rural areas can be hazardous. Abandoned vehicles, pedestrians and stray animals are a danger. Many roads are severely pot-holed or otherwise unsafe, especially during the rainy season (November-April) when bridges and roads risk being washed away by sudden floods. There are frequent fatal crashes.
Travel by long-distance public transport can be dangerous due to poor standards of driving, lack of rest periods for drivers, the poor quality of vehicles and poor road conditions. Minibuses used in urban areas are usually severely overcrowded, poorly maintained and badly driven.
It is also advisable to be vigilant in the deserted areas between the city of Livingstone and the Zambian part of Victoria Falls, where tourist attacks have been reported. The very site of the falls, and the large hotels in their vicinity, is on the other hand secured.
Wild animals in the bush, including venomous snakes, are unpredictable and do kill. In April 2016, a series of ‘ritual’ murders in some of the poorer neighborhoods of Lusaka resulted in riots and looting of mainly foreign-owned shops and businesses.
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