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Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

The PRSP process in Zambia

Venkatesh Seshamani

18-21 November 2002

Brussels, Belgium Posted with acknowledgement of the ECA.
For full documentation on the activities of the African Learning Group on PRSP, go to
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The content of the PRSP

Zambia’s PRSP is for the period 2002 to 2004.

The PRSP document consists of 17 chapters. The first four chapters deal with the Macroeconomic Situation, Poverty Profile, Governance Issues and National Goals and Objectives of the PRSP. The next four chapters deal with the economic sectors of Agriculture, Industry, Tourism and Mining. These chapters are followed by chapters on the two key social sectors - Education and Health. Then follow three chapters dealing with infrastructure development: Water and Sanitation, Energy, and Transport, Communication & Roads. The next chapter, Chapter 15 discusses the cross-cutting issues of HIV/AIDS, Gender and Environment. The last two chapters are on the PRSP Implementation Mechanisms and Structures and on Monitoring and Evaluation.

The text of the PRSP is followed by three Appendices. Appendix 1 discusses the Participatory Process in the PRSP. Appendix 2 provides the log frames containing the Objectives, Actions and Costing. Appendix 3 describes the Objectively Verifiable Indicators.

The content in the above chapters revolves around three main themes: the economic theme, the social theme and the cross-cutting theme. These themes are related to two main approaches to achieve the overall goal of poverty reduction. The first approach is to generate sustained economic growth and employment. Agricultural development is regarded as the main engine of growth (since it can provide the best opportunities for enhancing the livelihoods of the poor). Agriculture is to be complemented by other sectors that are considered to have high growthstimulating potential, namely, Tourism, Industry, Mining and Energy. The issues dealing with the growth of the economy are termed the economic theme of the PRSP.

The high levels of poverty in Zambia, however, cannot be brought down solely by the trickledown effects from growth. Hence, there is also need to adopt a second approach that provides for complementary measures that directly target the poor and shield them against the adverse impacts of economic reforms and other internal and external factors. The PRSP, therefore, also stresses the importance of basic education, basic health and social safety nets such as the Public Welfare Assistance Schemes (PWAS), Social Recovery Fund, Project Urban Self Help (PUSH), Food for Work Programme and entrepreneurial development and training for the retrenched employees. These areas constitute the social theme of the PRSP.

In addition to the above, there are also issues that impact on both the growth and the direct interventionist measures. These are the cross-cutting themes – HIV/AIDS, gender and environment.

The PRSP document recognizes that Zambia’s development is constrained by a tripod of barriers that are mutually reinforcing namely high levels of poverty, high debt burden and the high incidence of HIV/AIDS. It therefore stresses the need to complement efforts at poverty reduction with efforts to address the problems of debt and HIV/AIDS. We shall now focus on some of the specific aspects of the content of the PRSP document.

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