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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Zambia embraces private sector to improve ease of doing business …….As it drops in ranking in regional and global investment perceptions

Siame----Ease of Doing Busines conference next May..independentobserver.org
Jan. 19 (Zambia Informer)------Zambia's foreign direct investment prospects have come under threat, at least for now, having dropped its rating on the ease of doing business index at regional, continental and global levels, fueling concerns it might stifle the country’s ‘lust’ to remain an attractive destination globally, it has been learnt.

According to recent reports, Zambia has dropped  four places on the 2016 Ease of Doing Business  Index, ranked ninth in Sub Saharan Africa, fifth in  Southern African Development Community, fifth in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa with the global rating standing at 98 of the 190 countries assessed.

The current rating has sent shivers among the  authorities  in the 14, 3 million populated Southern African  who now seek co-existence with the private sector to reverse the perception as a yardstick to improve prospects to lure direct foreign investment- the key driver to economic revitalization and subsequent growth.

Key among the initiatives earmarked to market Zambia’s reputation as a favourites an Ease of Doing Business Index Conference to be hosted in the tourism capital, Livingstone from  May 16-17 in which over 300 delegates from over 30 countries are expected to sojourn into Zambia.

 Kayula Siame, the Permanent Secretary in the  ministry of commerce trade and industry notes that the downgrading was not good for Zambia, thriving to entice increased direct foreign investment, hence the need to re-strategise and find a lasting formulation to up its reputation.

“The forthcoming conference is a platform for strengthening  partnership between the Government and the private sector, as well as appreciate the methods applied in the Ease of Doing Business ranking,” Siame told journalists in Lusaka.

According to Government, the conference will be used as a platform to re-market Zambia’s reputation and offer an opportunity to present its challenges faced and re-position its stance on how best to improve the shortcomings while seeking to review the business environment that need reforms.

Background: Ease of Doing Business indexing:
Source: Wikipedia
The ease of doing business index is an index created by the World Bank Group.  Higher rankings (a low numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights. Empirical research funded by the World Bank to justify their work show that the economic growth impact of improving these regulations is strong.
"Empirical research is needed to establish the optimal level of business regulation—for example, what the duration of court procedures should be and what the optimal degree of social protection is.
 The indicators compiled in the Doing Business project allow such research to take place. Since the start of the project in November 2001, more than 800 academic papers have used one or more indicators constructed in Doing Business and the related background papers by its authors."
Methodology

The report is above all, a benchmark study of regulation. The survey consists of a questionnaire designed by the Doing Business team with the assistance of academic advisers. The questionnaire centers on a simple business case that ensures comparability across economies and over time.
The survey also bases assumptions on the legal form of the business, size, location, and nature of its operations.  
The ease of doing business index is meant to measure regulations directly affecting businesses and does not directly measure more general conditions such as a nation's proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation, or crime.
The next step of gathering data surveys of over 12,500 expert contributors (lawyers, accountants etc.) in 190 countries who deal with business regulations in their day-to-day work.
These individuals interact with the Doing Business team in conference calls, written correspondence and visits by the global team. For the 2017 report, team members visited 34 economies to verify data and to recruit respondents.
Data from the survey is subjected to several rounds of verification. The surveys are not a statistical sample, and the results are interpreted and cross-checked for consistency before being included in the report. Results are also validated with the relevant government before publication.
Respondents fill out written surveys and provide references to the relevant laws, regulations and fees, based on standardized case scenarios with specific assumptions, such as the business being located in the largest business city of the economy.
A nation's ranking on the index is based on the average of 10 subindices:
·         Starting a business – Procedures, time, cost and minimum capital to open a new business
·         Dealing with construction permits – Procedures, time and cost to build a warehouse
·         Getting electricity – procedures, time and cost required for a business to obtain a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed warehouse
·         Registering property – Procedures, time and cost to register commercial real estate
·         Getting credit – Strength of legal rights index, depth of credit information index
·         Protecting investors – Indices on the extent of disclosure, extent of director liability and ease of shareholder suits
·         Paying taxes – Number of taxes paid, hours per year spent preparing tax returns and total tax payable as share of gross profit
·         Trading across borders – Number of documents, cost and time necessary to export and import
·         Enforcing contracts – Procedures, time and cost to enforce a debt contract
·         Resolving insolvency – The time, cost and recovery rate (%) under bankruptcy proceeding
The Doing Business project also offers information on following datasets:
·         Distance to frontier - Shows the distance of each economy to the “frontier,” which represents the highest performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies included since each indicator was included in Doing Business
·         Entrepreneurship - Measures entrepreneurial activity. The data is collected directly from 130 company registrars on the number of newly registered firms over the past seven years

·         Good practices - Provide insights into how governments have improved the regulatory environment in the past in the areas measured by Doing Business.

African economic blocs in 7 mln Euro energy fillip ………’Energy deficit costs 2% loss of GDP in most African states’

Energy has deprived many inhabitants and hampers Africa's growth prospects
Jan. 19 (Zambia Informer)-----Most member states in the Common  Market for Eastern and Southern Africa are losing an average two percent of their economic growth (GDP) annually for want of ample energy while poor generation capacity to cover needs of the 19-member states’  is costing the growth of the much espoused cross border trade, a regional regulator has observed.

And the European Union has staked a staggering 7 million euros to meet the energy developmental projects in Comesa and the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the next three- to four years through infrastructure development as well as interconnectivity facilities as demand for power to drive affected economies and bolster industrialization and ultimately-regional integration, remains stifled for lack of it.

It is estimated that by the year 2040, about 950 million people are projected to gain access to electricity in the Sub Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency. Urban areas experience the largest improvement in the coverage and reliability of centralized electricity supply with elsewhere mini grids and off grids providing electricity of about 70 percent of those gaining electricity in rural areas.

Cumulative investment of more than US$200 billion lowers the total without access by 15 percent, while leaving 530 million people in the sub Saharan region primarily in rural areas without electricity by the projected period of 2040.

This development,  according to the report leaves the future of the development of the energy sector bleak-fueling fears of stunted economic growth for affected countries, thereby needing concerted efforts by affected regional blocs to embrace the ‘haves and have nots’.

According to findings by the Comesa regional regulatory body-Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERASA) the energy deficiencies in the 19-member grouping-Comesa indicates the need to review and step up efforts to improve the capacity and make energy an economic growth enabler and bolster industrialization and subsequently foster regional integration as the economic bloc espouses to growth.

The challenges cited in most countries, forcing the majority to go without power-chiefly of account of deficiencies-caused by underdeveloped energy networks-a common feature in member states is costing the revenue of industries in the affected countries and raises production costs and affecting job creation for nationals and also affect direct foreign investment.

“The main challenges for many Comesa countries is that generation capacity is not sufficient to cover the nations own needs and allow for cross border trade,” Joseph Ng’ang’a, the RAERESA director General says.

Speaking during the two-day-RAERESA Annual General Meeting in Lusaka, Ng’ang’a  noted that added to the two percent energy deficit in GDP among member states, 55 percent of member states in Comesa lack electricity.

This is despite the region having an installed capacity of 68,000 megawatts, almost 69 percent of the  installed capacity is thermal, 30 percent hydro with the remaining one percent  being renewable energy, compared to 50,000 MW in South Africa.

Emelda Chola, Zambia’s permanent secretary in the energy ministry called for concerted efforts to develop Comesa’s total installed capacity-falling short of 120 million megawatts for France and with a population of a paltry 65 million people compared to  over 400 population in the Comesa region hence the need for Africa to scale up investment in the energy sector.

She  called for close cooperation among member states in SADC and Comesa to overcome the power deficit  through power interconnector facilities.

This is against a background of the zeal shown by various cooperating partners including the European Union (EU) that have staked an estimated 4.4 million euros to facilitate dialogue on the formulation of the connectivity from Cape to Cairo to foster increased energy capacity to bolster industrialization and the much espoused regional integration on the continent.

And EU representative,  Karine Genty says an estimated 7 million Euro funding will be provided by the 28-member grouping to ensure the progression and success of both regional energy regulators as well as national regulatory agencies in Comesa and SADC.

The national energy regulatory bodies expected to benefit from the 7 million Euros earmarked for investment in the next three to four years will also benefit among others regulators- the Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB)  to ensure there is energy sufficiency to drive the economies and foster Africa’s growth.




Zambia contains army worms in ‘selected’ parts of the country ……….’As threats of red locust invasions loom in SADC’s regional food basket’

The Red Locust can  eat large potions of crops in hasty time
News Feature.
Jan. 19 (Zambia Informer)------- Army worms  have been contained in some selected parts of Zambia-the Southern African regional food basket  but authorities in the country still have to contend with the impending outbreak of the red locusts, which threatens to wipe the food security among 14 million inhabitants.
According to estimates by the Government, 10 percent of the 1,5 million hectares of land planned for corn growing and cultivation, has been invaded by the army worms and stalk borers in recent months, but, authorities say, despite the threats, the country remains food secure with intensified efforts by all players.

The Government, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit –DMMU, in its recent assessment argues that the invasion of Armyworms has normalised in provinces where it was first reported after the agency-under the Vice President’s office distributed a total of 91, 700 litres of chemicals with 81,400 having been sprayed.

Patrick Kangwa, the country’s DMMU spokesperson argues further that 22,730  remains to be sprayed, chiefly in newly affected provinces of Eastern, Luapula and Southern Provinces, assisted by  various players including scientists and researchers  undertaking an on the spot checks.
The teams of experts are directed to report back their findings and initiatives undertaken to fight the leaf and stalk eating caterpillars by Friday, Jan. 20 for onward mobilization to ensure its possible eradication countrywide.
 Members of the public and farmers affected by the army worms, who are yet to access the chemicals, are asked to report DMMU. The disaster agency however, is optimistic of success with the ongoing operation has not received a single report of areas where the chemicals are not effective.
To counter the losses, the Government has initiated a deliberate policy and is providing early maturity seeds to affected farmers to mitigate the effects and ensure sustained food security, says Micheal Katambo, the acting Minister of Agriculture.
However,  threats of lost food security looms in Zambia amid reports of Red Locusts invading Zambia-fueling concerns of possible wiping out the little crops that are mushrooming in most of the fields-with corn being Zambia’s main food stay-dubbed Nshima.
According to  the Presidency and other relief monitoring agencies, the African migratory locusts have invaded Zambia and already “eaten”  an estimated 20,000 hectares of land in Kafue Floods in Southern Zambia-forcing President  Edgar Lungu to request for urgent mobilization of resources to counter the effects of the pest-more severe than army worms.
The red locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata), which is familiar to Zambia-having invaded the country in the late 1940s inor around Northern Zambia-wiping all the crops to root levels,  is a large grasshopper species found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Its name refers to the colour of its hindwings. It is sometimes called the Criquet nomade in French, due to its nomadic movements in the dry season. When it forms swarms, it is described as a locust, according to research by experts.
However, President Lungu  has sounded an alert over the impending influx of the red locust and has directed the relevant authorities to secure K1 million (US$100,000) to  fight the locusts that threat food security amid fears of army worms, stalk borers ravaging crops on the other end.

According to the International Red Locust Organisation (IRL) Zambia is under threat of the highly mobile locusts, according to IRL director in Zambia-Moses Okhoba. The centre has identified a threat of African migratory locusts which need attention or  contained at the beginning of February or risk  a national disaster.

“We need to contain them before they fly.  The moment they fly, they are out of control, so the situation must be controlled before February,”  Okhoba added when agriculture minister Dora Siliya visited Ndola-based IRL centre recently.
The African migratory locusts, which have a longer life span, have become prevalent in Zambia as compared to red locusts, which are less destructive. According to Okhoba the locusts were mainly in Southern Province because it had favorable conditions for their survival and reproduction.
Red Locusts: what it is:

Adults
The overall colour of adult insects is a mixture of light beige and brown. They have seven brown transversal bands on the elytra, justifying the species name septemfasciata. The pronotum has two brown lateral bands.
Males are 60–70 mm (2.4–2.8 in) long; females are 60–85 mm (2.4–3.3 in) long.
Hoppers
Unlike adults, the colour of immature insects varies depending on their phase. When solitary they can be green or brown; when in large numbers (gregarious), they are bright yellow and red-brown with black markings.
Red locusts actively seek out moist environments such as seasonal floodplainsGrains are their primary food source, so grassy lowlands are prime habitat. They also like spending time in trees and thus prefer some tree cover.
Red locusts are sedentary when ample shelter, perches and food is available. In dry years, when the amount of suitable habitat is reduced population densities increase. If the population density increases past a threshold, the locusts will transform into their gregarious phase, changing their behaviour and anatomy.
When gregarious, red locusts keep together in large swarms and fly with the wind in daylight hours, looking for more food. The higher temperatures during daylight enable gregarious locusts to travel longer distances by flying longer and higher, aided by thermal lift.
A swarm will rarely move more than 20–30 km in a day. In contrast, solitary locusts prefer to fly in the dark and do so alone.[2]

Outbreaks:
Outbreak areas have been identified in ZambiaTanzaniaMalawi and also Madagascar and RĂ©union. In the Sahel, the species is observed on a more incidental basis in Cape Verde, the central Niger River delta in Mali and around Lake Chad. The last widespread plague occurred from 1930-1944, when almost all of southern Africa was invaded.
After unsuccessful efforts to control the locusts through environmental modifications, chemical agents are currently being used. A biological product based on an entomopathogenic fungus (Metarhizium acridum) is now available It has been successfully tested on both nymphs and adults of the red locust.

News just in!--------Hear the news first!


·         1---------------European Union stakes 7 million euros  to fight energy deficit in Comesa and SADC regions over four years and enhance regional integration

·         2--------------Zambia embraces private sector to improve ease of doing business ranking as the southern African state prepares to hold annual conference in the tourism capital next May.

·         3---------------Zambia contends army worms in provinces initially invaded as threats of red locust loom in the southern African state.

·         4-------------- Lack of political space, influence and the perpetuation of poverty and injustice cited as some of the key impediments to fighting inequality  in most states, Zambia included, says Action Aid.
      
     Stories coming soon
     Editor


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

KCM honors partial payment to ZCCM IH over US$103 million ………remits 180,000 British Pounds sterling following court order


Chabala-----ZCCM IH recieved partial payments from KCM---pix: ZCCM IH

Jan. 18 (Zambia Informer)-----Konkola Copper Mines, a unit of London listed Vedanta Resources has obliged its indebtedness to Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings and has remitted a partial 800, 000 British Pounds Sterling following a  court ruling by the British Court, the holding Company says in statement.

Chabby  Chabala, the company secretary says on 13 January the Zambia’s largest copper producer-KCM commenced its commitment to offset the indebtedness and remitted 180,000 British Pounds to ZCCM-IH under a settlement agreement ordered by the London High Court.

According to Chabala, the holding company had been paid following a successful default judgement obtained by ZCCM-IH against KCM, in outstanding sums owed to ZCCM IH totalling US$103 million.

According to the court’s ruling, the miner was ordered to pay 180,000 British Pounds in costs incurred by ZCCM-IH in pursuing its application before the English court. Under the terms, the terms, the payment was made in accordance with the Court’s Judgment and both parties have agreed to amend the dates by which KCM will make the other outstanding payments.

Under the terms of agreement, KCM will now pay ZCCM-IH US$ 20 million on 31 January 2017, US$ 22 million on 28 February 2017 and US$ 2,550,000 at the end of every month commencing on 31 March 2017 until such time as the Judgment Sum has been paid in full.

 “The English court’s further directions to determine whether KCM made payments to Vedanta Group Companies in breach of the prohibition on doing so under the Settlement Agreement remain unchanged.
If and to the extent it is determined that such payments were made, ZCCM-IH will be entitled to recover additional sums from KCM. A further announcement will be made at that time,” Chabala adds in his statement, Jan. 17.

In June 2016, ZCCM-IH commenced legal proceedings in the London Courts to recover over K1 billion (US$ 100 million) owed by Konkola Copper Mine Plc relating to the Settlement Agreement (SA) signed in 2013.

On 16 December 2016, ZCCM-IH was successful in its application for default judgment in pursuant to recover over K1 billion (US$ 100 million) owed by Konkola Copper Mine Plc relating to the Settlement Agreement (SA) signed in 2013.

KCM was ordered to pay all sums owed to ZCCM-IH pursuant to the Settlement Agreement (plus associated contractual interest) within thirty (30) days.

In another development,  ZCCM IH recorded losses after tax of around K2, 303 million in the financial year ending March 2016 this was after the loss after tax jumped from the  2015 figure of K987million.

The company also recorded an operating loss of K207 million which was however 91 percent down from the 2,179 million recorded in 2015.

Overall group performance continued to be impacted negatively by low global copper prices and low production coupled with the Kwacha depreciation.  

The company saw its total assets increase by 29 percent  from  K8, 504 million to K10, 956 million largely on account of translation differences on equity accounted investees.

The Ndola Lime recapitalization project underwent hot commissioning and the K651 million shareholder loan that ZCCM-IH lent to Ndola Lime Company Limited (NLC) was converted into Equity in order to strengthen the company’s balance sheet.

During the year ZCCM-IH acquired Trinity Park, an Investment Property along Alick Nkhata road at a cost of K85 million (US$8 million).

ZCCM-IH will occupy one third of the building while two thirds will continue to be rented out.
In August 2015, Minister of Finance transferred 60.3 percent shares out of 87.5 percent previously held in ZCCM-IH to the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC).

Subsequent to the period under review, significant progress was made on the Maamba Thermal Plant project with the first 150 megawatts production commissioned in August 2016 and the next 150 MW commissioned in November 2016.

Maamba is currently supplying 270MW to ZESCO. Going forward, Nava Bharat will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the power plant.

And on the outlook for the company, ZCCM IH says the copper price has recently shown signs of recovery, and it would appear that beyond 2016 the price will continue to recover.

It says its investee companies that operate mines, have been undergoing restructuring in order to contain operating costs in the midst of the global copper price crunch and that this should have positive results going forward, though recovery will be slow.

To ensure survival, as part of the strategic plan, the company continues to explore diversification and introducing initiatives to achieve efficiencies at Ndola Lime Company Limited, investment into property and agriculture are activities expected to positively impact the Group in the medium to long term.




Monday, 16 January 2017

Dangote seeks developed agricultural, energy sectors in Zambia ………’Dangles US$16 billion for investment on the African continent’

'Thank you Mr. President, Dangote seems to be telling Pres. Lungu'. Zam.reports
Jan. 16 (Zambia Informer) ----- There is need for Zambia to adopt good agricultural and energy practices to develop the economy, whose potential remains underutilized, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest business says.
During a one-day-state visit meeting with President Edgar Lungu Dangote, 58 stated that good agricultural practices, if applied, will bolster Zambia’s yield potential in various crops and make the country competitive, local media reports say.
Zambia’s natural advantage in the export market is the readily available captive market that consists of eight neighboring countries and other nations in the great lakes region.”, the Zambia Reports cites Dangote as saying during a visit at State House, Saturday, Jan. 14. where he met President Lungu while emphasising the need for the country to develop its energy sector too as a yardstick for growth of the economy .

 “Energy is a critical requirement for economic development and so it is important that you expand your energy supply footprint both for local consumption, and export to regional markets” he added while noting Zambia’s enabling environment which the country continues to offer investors at every level.
Dangote also showed willingness to consolidate and expand his businesses in Zambia in Zambia with attention to diversify into energy and agriculture sectors in addition to the US$4 million Masaiti-based 3,000 per day producing cement plant in Ndola, north of Zambia.
 “We are going to explore investment opportunities in the energy sector and perhaps look at the viability of existing petroleum refinery facilities.”
At the same meeting President Lungu instructed the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati and all relevant government ministries and agencies to ensure that the process of facilitating investments in job-creation enterprises is efficient.
“Agriculture is the major thrust in Zambia’s economic diversification drive and among our top priorities, which include, the provision of affordable food, fuel and farmer inputs.
“I admire your tenacity and commitment to invest within Africa because that is what improves the brotherhood between nations. We will support you and facilitate your investments in Zambia,” assured the President, adding that, “we need to put our hands together to help our people out of poverty.” Dangote-the Nigerian multi billionaire and owner of Dangote group of companies if further cited as saying.
During an earlier meeting with Mutati, Dangote encouraged the Zambian government to strengthen business management skills especially among small and medium enterprises. He further sought support to be rendered to small and medium entrepreneurs by the banking sector to assist deepen the Zambian economy and creating jobs for locals.
Background:
Dangote owns  the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities. He’s into exporting, importing, manufacturing, real-estate and philanthropy. All of these are combined together to form what is known as the Dangote Group. The focus of his investments is food, clothing as well as shelter, according to data by the Naijan publication.
The Dangote Group of companies imports 400,000 metric tons of sugar annually making  up about 70 percent  of the total requirements of the nation and is a major supplier of the product to the manufacturers of Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and Seven-Up in Nigeria.
It imports 200,000 metric tons of rice annually just as the company imports tons of cement and fertilizer and building materials. Dangote Group also imports fish and owns three big fishing trawlers chartered for fishing with a 5,000 MT capacity. The group exports cotton, cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seed, ginger and gum Arabic to several countries globally.
He was born in Kano state and his business acumen is attributed to his grand father, the late Alhaji Sanusi Dantata who provided him with a small capital to start his own business, as was the practice then. He thus started business in Kano in 1977 trading in commodities and also building supplies.
Dangote later moved to Lagos in June 1977 and persisted in trading cement and commodities. Encouraged by tremendous success and increase in business activities, he incorporated two companies in 1981. These as well as others that followed now make up the conglomerate known as the Dangote Group.
Company Activities
Dangote Group today is associated with diverse types of manufacturing with good revenues. Dangote textile and the Nigeria Textiles Mills Plc, which it acquired, produce over 120,000 meters of finished textiles daily. The group has a ginnery in Kankawa, Katsina State with a capacity of 30,000 MT of seeded cotton annually.
The sugar refinery at Apapa port, Lagos is the largest in Africa and in size the third largest worldwide with an annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually. It also has another 100,000 tonne-capacity sugar mill at Hadeja in Jigawa State.
Besides having significant investment in the National Salt Company of Nigeria at Ota, Ogun State, the group has salt factories at Apapa as well as Calabar, a polypropylene bagging factory which produces essential bags for its products, over 600 trailers for effective distribution network and goods meant for export can also successfully be transported to the respective ports.
A vehicle leasing unit with over 100 fully air-conditioned commuter buses, is also part of the Dangote Group. It is also into real estate with luxury flats and high rise complexes in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Abuja and Kano.
 Dangote Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the group where yearly he spends millions for worthy causes such as contributions to educational and healthcare institutions, sinking of boreholes and giving of scholarships.
The Dangote Group has nationwide staff strength of 12,000 but on completion of on-going projects, it is expected to hit 22,000. His business success may be influenced by various factors. He seems to be broad-minded.  
Upon investing in Zambia, Dangote expressed willingness to invest a staggering US$15 billion in Africa by the year 2020 in various fields as part of his business empire expansion.
Unlike some people, his Personal Assistant is Yoruba while his Head of Corporate Affairs is a Christian from Delta State, the Naijan says of Alhaji Dangote’s background.
Recently, Finance Minister Mutati announced Dangote’s intentions to return to Zambia and seek fresh investments besides the cement plant in Ndola. He could not elaborate, however.



Saturday, 14 January 2017

Zambia laments the increasing global inequality ratios ……..’Calls for self-introspection' to close the gap and avert a crisis for generations to come’

The degree of inequality remains a daunting challenge to humanity globally

Jan. 14 (Zambia Informer) ----- The levels of inequality among the ‘haves and the have nots’ globally, Zambia included, have remained increasingly high hence the need for a dimensional approach to addressing the challenges beyond income unlike leaving the calamity for posterity to judge, a serious oversight that may haunt mankind in future, experts say.

According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), dubbed “Global Inequality: beyond the bottom billion” A rapid review of income distribution in 141 countries, notes serious disparities in the distribution of wealth among the affected people, with the majority of women and children feeling the blunt of the widening gap as they continue wallowing in squalor.

The report authored jointly by Isabel Ortiz, an Associate Director, Policy and Practice at UNICEF and Mathew Cummins, Staff Consultant, Policy and Practice, also at the UN children agency, calls for the need to adopt a multidimensional approach in redressing addressing inequalities beyond income.

The sectors affected include education, nutrition, health and information, among other sectors, although the numbers of adult women and girls living in poverty remains alarming.

Data, obtained by the UN Children’s agency shows alarming disparities showing an average 20 percent of women being below the $1.25/day international poverty line, with 40 percent below the $2/day mark.

Girls and younger women also suffer disproportionately from poverty, as more than one-quarter of females under the age of 25 were below the $1.25/day international poverty line, and about half on less than $2/day.

By the year 2007 to date, according to the UNICEF findings, the top 20 percent of the world controlled about 70 percent of total income compared to just  two percent for the bottom 20 percent.

Regarding change, the poorest 40 percent of the global population increased its share of total income by a meager 1.7 percent between 1990 and 2007.

The degree of inequality among the majority, especially in Africa and other Least Developed Countries, however, continues to widen, seeking consultations on how to reduce the alarming levels or disparities in the ‘haves and the have nots’, factors which threaten world peace.

However Zambia is not spared by the degree of inequalities afflicting the globe, prompting the Government to join hands with the civil right campaigns operating in the country to join hands, rally behind it in seeking lasting solutions to the emerging catastrophe, which if not redressed, could affected global peace, affect and haunt humanity for generations to come.

“The impact of inequality if not redressed will in future come to haunt us as a nation,” Dr. Sr. Auxilia Ponga, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry of national development planning says. She calls on various players to work together in seeking lasting solutions to the ever widening gaps in society especially on incomes of various households which has given rise to increased poverty levels.

While noting that income inequality remains a global problem, seeking a global solution, prompting Zambia to join the campaign against the vice, Ponga calls on Zambians and the rest of the world to join hands and adopt or embrace the income inequality through the Sustainable Development Goal (10), a tool all nations have adopted to better the lives of their people.

Government is cognissance of the escalating gaps of poverty in rural communities and is paying special attention to redress the matter through various initiatives including rural development and employment initiatives though among others, investing in infrastructure to connect poor households to economic opportunities, although more needs to be done in strengthening property rights of poor households.

The poor households, further need empowerment through micro credit facilities and reinforcement of market institutions to assist reduce the increasing gaps which have continued widening, hence creating two classes of people in urban and rural settlements.

Sister Ponga notes that while the gap between the rich and the poor in Zambia has grown distinctively since 1964 after the country’s attainment of independence and the economy having grown at an average annual rate of seven percent between 2010 and 2014, the benefits have remained negligible with the growth attained amassed by the rich segments of the population in urban areas.

“While the benefits of growth have not sufficiently extended to the majority of the population living in poverty, it is the same part of the population that is likely to bear the burden when the economy is underperforming,” she added, while urging all citizenry to undertake individual introspective and evaluate on ways of closing the increasing gaps between the ‘haves and the have nots’

Globally, Dr. Ponga noted inequality has reached a state of emergency, reaching extreme levels because it has been creeping into societies without so much discussion among various players hence the need for joint efforts by all interest groups to dialogue and find lasting solutions to increasing poverty and inequality levels.

However, efforts should not end at discussing the way forward but also embrace initiating plans of action and act upon them as a sustainable effort to reducing poverty and growing inequality among people in society, not only Zambia but globally, Ponga added during the launch of the Global Fight against inequality week,  Saturday in Lusaka.  The campaign against global inequality runs from Jan. 14-21.

Reversing income inequality remains an urgent matter and this should embrace creation of decent jobs that will assist reduce the increased levels of imbalances as more people will be empowered through reduced unemployment rate.

Action Aid, the global poverty and debt campaigner, a British Charity, cites disparities in power, privileges, opportunities, resources and wealth as key factors that continue to compliment to increasing inequality gaps, ultimately affecting chiefly the women and the children who bear the blunt, says Zambia country director, Naluca Ziba.

The widening gap between the rich and the poor has become the biggest global threat to the world economy as espoused under the World Economic Forum. Action Aid argues that the inequality is systematic as systems of governance, finance and social order are devised and maintained by those already wielding power.

In Zambia, according to Action Aid Zambia study, inequality is multifaceted and has manifested in various forms in Zambia with most of the women lacking access to land and other natural resources, leaving many of them landless and while some seemingly own land they lack title to show ownership, added Ziba.