Country Session 13: Zambia
The Zambia Country session was co-chaired by Alan Hirsch and Bob Liebenthal who are the Country Directors for IGC Zambia. The session began by Bob (IGC) providing an overview of the Country Strategy Note (CSN) as well as an overview of projects in Phase I. Alan (IGC) later gave a background to Phase II and outlined the main areas of focus which have remained to be domestic resource mobilization; infrastructure investment and services; and economic diversification and integration. Alan (IGC) also highlighted how the IGC intends to engage with the wider policy networks in Zambia to ensure research is transformed into policy. Closely related to this was IGC’s plan to strengthen partnerships with local research and policy organizations such as the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) and the National Economic and Advisory Council (NEAC).
When commenting on the country strategy, Michael Gondwe (Governor at Bank of Zambia (BOZ)) and Bernard Kampasa (Permanent Secretary to Cabinet), the senior-most representatives of the Zambian government at Growth Week 2013 commended the IGC for prioritizing the areas that are of current interest to the Zambian government. The two have pledged to support the IGC work in Zambia.
Presenting a paper on ‘Short Run Determinants of the Nominal Kwacha: Implications for Exchange Rate Policy’, John Weeks (University of London) pointed out that the exchange rate in Zambia has been relatively stable and consistent with economic trends. However, there have been some substantial changes since the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) period. John (University of London) also noted that the Kwacha has been relatively stable over the last two years, partly due to the BOZ intervention in the foreign exchange market.
In a related paper on ‘Copper Price and Diversification: Are they Kwacha Fundamentals?, Oswald Mungule (NEAC) indicated that the country is following a path of diversification, moving away from depending on copper, and implementing an industrial clustering programme (value-chain based). In his conclusion he agreed with John Weeks (University of London) that after HIPC the Kwacha started appreciating and has remained smooth since.
Austin Land (IPA) gave a presentation on an RCT; ‘Food Constraints, Yield Uncertainty and Ganyu Labor: A Pilot Study in Zambia’. The main focus of the presentation was to assess why small-scale farms fail to achieve higher yields. Further investigation into whether the part time jobs (Ganyu Labor) that small scale farmers get in big farms during the rainy season could be affecting the farm productivity was suggested.