Economy has grown more than 9%, but poverty rates has increased almost 4% in Zambia

July 21, 2015

We know change is possible when governments make the right choices and are accountable to the many, not the few. Countries like Bolivia and Brazil, for example, have in the last decade managed to grow their economies whilst making them more equal. Brazil has achieved his through targeted policies, including an increase in the minimum wage that has seen the poorest 10% receive an income growth above the national average, compared to the rich, who have had income growth below the average. Bolivia has seen a much sharper fall in inequality, with its government introducing a range of new progressive spending programmes while, crucially, funding them by renegotiating the country's oil and gas tax revenue. Conversely, robust growth in Zambia, averaging 4.6% between 2000 and 2006, was almost entirely captured by the richest 10%, who increased their share of the country's wealth by more than 9% while poverty rates increased by almost 4%. When I visited Zambia last year for the first time in a decade, it had moved from low to middle income status. The economy had grown but there were actually more poor people.

 

Mark Goldring, "Extreme Inequality,” Resurgence &Ecologist, September/October 2014, no. 286: p11

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