Week 15: MDG and Zambia

Center for Global Development (CGD) analyses trends of countries of how they have fared against the eight core Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets: extreme poverty, hunger, education, gender, child mortality, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, and water. The key findings include:

  • Capture

    Map of world with progress scores

    Low- Versus Middle-Income Country Performance

  • Indicator Performance Trends
  • Country Changes
  • Absolute Country Performance
  • Data Challenges

Zambia Progress Report (CGD)

Low-income countries, such as Zambia, progress toward the MDGs improved modestly while middle income countries’ performance declined.  Low-income countries improved, on average on four core MDG targets: extreme poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, and child mortality.  Yet, performance declined modestly for three core targets: education, gender equality, and child mortality.

Zambia received a score of 2.5 out of 8 on their MDG progress. The score is set up by a scale of 0 to 1. The scorecard on the left shows the MDG progress for Zambia, according to the data from Center for Global Development

  • 0 = Not met the MDG requirement
  • 0.5 = Not met but close to meeting the MDG requirement
  • 1 = Met the MDG requirement

Another source of MDG indicators is the MDG Progress Reports for each country provided by the United Nations Development Programme.  The latest report and data is from 2013.  Overall the progress to reach the targets is encouraging, yet Zambia is still confronted by challenges that hold back key policy and institutional reforms, and consequently the overall pace of implementation.

Map of Zambia

MDG 1: Extreme poverty is decreasing but at a very slow rate.  For MDG 1, different organization have presented different results about Zambia’s performs with eradicating extreme poverty.  I believe part of the problem is how you measure extreme poverty and where it occurs.  Although the proportion of Zambian living in extreme poverty has declined in the past decade, the proportion of rural Zambians in extreme poverty has increased.

MDG 2: Universal primary education is within reach. Zambia has made steady progress on primary school enrolment, which has increased from 80 percent in 1990 to 93 7 percent in 2010. The improvement can be linked to the boost in primary education infrastructure and the introduction of free education.

MDG 3: Gender equality and the empowerment of women require special measures.  On the positive, Zambia is on track to achieve gender parity in primary school enrollment as well as in literacy among 15-24-year old.  The negative is the country has moved backwards on women’s participation in government in both local councils.

Children of Zambia

MDG 4: Child mortality remains high.  Child mortality has declined by almost 30 percent since 1992, but is still unacceptable high. The mortality rate of children under five dropped from 190.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1992 to 137.6 per 1000 live births in 2010.

MDG 5: Improving maternal health requires renewed emphasis.   Although maternal mortality in Zambia has been falling, the decline is insufficient to reach the 2015 target of 162.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.   Interventions that have been successful, and need to be scaled up, include improved use of contraception for birth spacing, prevention of early marriages, and the deployment of more trained midwives and birth attendants.

MDG 6: Gains on HIV&AIDS, malaria and other major diseases must not be lost.  Zambia has already surpassed the MDG target for number of Zambians infected with HIV.  Therefore, the focus must be redirected to prevention.  The fact that HIV incidence is higher in women than in men demonstrates that the underlying causes of income and gender inequality need to be addressed as well.

MDG 7: Gaining lost ground on environmental sustainability.  Land covered by forests in Zambia reduced from 59.8 percent in 1990 to 49.9 percent in 2010. This decline stems from over-exploitation through logging for wood fuel and encroachment for agriculture and settlements.  Zambia has however observed improvements in the provision of clean water, although the proportion of the population without access to improved sanitation facilities is not getting any better.

MDG 8: An evolving global partnership for development as Zambia transitions to a middle-income country.  Zambia has implemented reforms since the 1990s that have seen the development of a fairly open, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory trading and financial system.  The country has also graduated from a low-income to a lower middle-income country, which means the country now has less access to concessional lending and overseas development assistance.

My main critique of the MDG is how expansive they are in scope.  The goals try to tackle development of lower income countries by trying to improve every aspect of development at once.  The two focuses of the development goals should be economics and education.  Stronger partnerships and domestic financing, with strong support from the private sector, are key to furthering improvements in living standards.  In previous post, the overall theme in regards to promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women comes down to education.  Education in turn will improve health and ultimately, the quality of life.


Week 14: Women and the Economy

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women produced the The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly.  By accepting the Convention, states commit to:

  • Principle of equality of men and women in their legal system
  • Establish tribunals to ensure effective protection of women against discrimination
  • Elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises

The Convention has helped raise global awareness of discrimination of women in the highest level of global governance.  By committing to the Convention, a state must submit a country report every four years.  A shortcoming is getting countries to honor their commitments made in closing the gender gap.  Even though a state signs on to the commitment, there is no framework to force cooperation.  Again, these policies are at a national level, when in reality the local level is where women are more likely to be affected by a gap in women’s rights.

Woman tests groundnut sheller

In Zambia, work is being done to protect women’s land rights.  Although formal law, such as the Constitution and the Lands Act supports property rights and prohibits gender-based discrimination, customary rules and practices often discriminate against women when it comes to access and control over land.

Education and challenging laws at the lower levels need to be done, to close the gap.  More sustainable gender equality work by NGOs and governments that comes from the tribal level with work its way up into the national level.  Rural parts of Africa are controlled by tribes and sometimes national laws have limited reach to tribal custom, legally and socially.

Economic opportunity is one of the best equalizers to shrink the gap.  Some challenges and constraints for women reaching their full economic potential include:

  • Women contribute substantially to economic welfare through large amounts of unpaid work, such as child-rearing and household tasks, which often remains unseen and unaccounted for in GDP
  • Gender differences in paid working hours and participation in part time work remain significant
  • Moreover, there is a significant wage gap associated with gender, even for the same occupations and even when controlling for individual characteristics, such as education
  • In many countries, the lack of basic necessities and rights inhibits women’s potential to join the formal labor market or become entrepreneurs.

The challenges of growth, job creation, and inclusion are closely tangled. While growth and stability are necessary to give women the opportunities they need, women’s participation in the labor market is also a part of the growth and stability equation. In rapidly aging economies, higher female labor force participation can boost growth by mitigating the impact of a shrinking workforce. Better opportunities for women can also contribute to broader economic development in developing economies through higher levels of school enrollment for girls.

Week 13: Girl Power

Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo traditional female circumcision (a Maasai rite of passage) if he let her go to high school.  She had to make a deal to go to high school, a level of education mandatory here in the United States (or until a student is 18, in which you can drop out on your own).

The fact is women are not empowered to make the choice to continue with their education on their own.  Education enlightens people and pushes minds to the think differently, embrace change, and think critically.  By empowering young women through education, allows for social change in villages in Africa.  It allows upward mobility in the workforce. With educated women working and earning wages, women do not have to rely on a single wage being brought into the house and further changing the social-economic structure.

Another strategy of empowering young girls is raising the minimum age of marriage.  Denise Dunning of Let Girls Lead work to raise the national marriage age from 15 to 18.  In some places in Africa parents will sell the rights to marry their daughter, often at a very young age.  This takes social powers away from the women.  Raising the minimum age with empower young girls and make them more independent.  The strategies are implemented by the governments with the help from not-for-profits.

Camfed is a non-for-profit organization that supports girls to go to school.  They have been operating in Zambia since 2001, working in ten districts, twenty seven districts, and seven hundred schools.

I believe educating girls is crucial, especially since our region is so devastated by HIV/AIDS and many of the children are orphans. Educating girls is the only way. If you are not educated, that’s the end of you. – Camfed

Zambia is still ranked 13th out of 15 countries for literacy and numeracy by the Southern African Consortium for Measuring Education.  As good of a non-for-profit Camfed is, the results seem not to be improving since 2001.  Although it is very difficult task when Camfed is competing to keep girls in school against pregnancy, early marriage, and extreme poverty.

Holistic approaches to help curb the prevalence of sexually centered issues in Africa include:

  • Men as a priority in sexuality research
  • Adolescent health promotion
  • Developing sexual heath interventions

Boko Haram militants (BBC.com)

Nigeria has recently had issues with a militant Islamist group, Boko Haram. Muslims in the Sokoto caliphate refuse to send their children to government-run “Western schools”, a problem compounded by the ruling elite which does not see education as a priority.  The group has created havoc by:

  • Wave of bombings
  • Assassinations
  • Abductions

Included in the abductions was more than 200 school girls.  Some girl escaped but the remaining missing girls have converted to Islam and married off.

Week 12: Women

Women are often marginalized in the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa.  Most the time it stems from tribal and rural societies using part tribal customs and part common law.  Part of the problem is also education.  Many families in sub-Saharan Africa do not see it necessary for women to go to school.  This is also more prevalent in countries were women are being sold.  Rural women in Africa are dependent on males due to traditional gender roles that define division of labor, therefore are subordinate socially, economically, and politically.

In Kenya, women work on domestic duties aw well as the majority of agriculture cultivation .

  • Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of labor force
  • Women make up 75 percent of agriculture work force

Women own the crops they cultivate, but are not owners of the land.  Modernization and globalization has amplified the marginalization of female rural agricultural workers in Kenya.  Multi-national corporations have utilized Kenya’s arable land for cash crop farms, that have negatively affected rural women workers.  This has caused men to migrate to work in urban areas or commercialized crop factories, leaving women to tend to the agricultural duties on land technically owned by their husbands with no legal protection.

The IMF official is hardly the only person to automatically file women under micro – Gayle Tzemach Lemmon during TED talk

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women should not just get micro-loans.  Women should be running all types of firms, from home businesses to major factories.  This is a key to economic development, which in turn will contribute positively to making the situation of marginalization better.

Education is also another way to improve the situation of marginalization.  A major obstacle with education, especially in Kenya recently, is terrorism of education facilitates.  Recently in the news 147 people died in a university attack.  Changes to security to allow for education to take place will go a long way in positively contributing to the problem.

I do believe micro-loans will help will self-sufficiency of women in the workforce.  Organizations such as KIVA work to provide micro loans to women in sub-Saharan Africa.  Below is a video how KIVA works.

Using the example of Kenya women agricultural workforce, micro-loans can help set up business for the crops they harvest, since they have the rights to the crops they cultivate.  Although the women do not own the land, if the husband is working in urban areas and the wife has a agriculture business, this will help move the family out of the poverty trap.

Another reason why women are being marginalized is because of women and HIV/AIDS.  In Zambia, an organization called GlobalGiving helps provide micro-loans for women impacted by HIV/AIDS.  The project provides business training, micro loans, business monitoring and counseling to 100 poor women entrepreneurs for a period of one year in Zambia. The long term impact is to empower women in effort to strenghten communities.  GlobalGiving expects higher attendance in school via better health and nutrition of the children, a lower rate of HIV infection via better education, & a higher number of people with income generating skills in the community.

Week 11: Africa & Mobile-Based Solutions

The Grameen Foundation has worked in Sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade by building relevant mobile-based solutions and increasing access to financial services.  The current work focuses on delivering financial solutions and information services via mobile technology that target the rural poor, with a specific focus on agriculture, health, and livelihoods.

In Kenya, the Grameen Foundation is using mobile technology to improve access to financial services and information on agriculture.  The model is to provide an e-warehouse initiative, in which the foundation is:

  • Providing information to help smallholder maize farmers properly store their crops post-harvest
  • Connect them to financial services and markets for final sale

The foundation is also working with Musoni Kenya, a microfinance institution that provides fully automated, mobile phone-based banking services.  Musoni is the microfinance institution that provides a fully automated, mobile phone-based banking service that allows the bank’s clients to receive  financing and make repayments over mobile phone.

In Uganda, the Grameen Foundation launched mobile technology work in Uganda in 2002 with Village Phone.  In 2009, the foundation launched the Community Knowledge Worker initiative.  Here is a breakdown:

  • Serves farmers in remote communities through a network of peer advisers
  • Combines mobile technology and human networks to help smallholder farmers get accurate, timely information to improve their businesses and livelihoods

The role of mobile technology is the cornerstone to the foundation’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.  All the programs run through the ability to use mobile technology, which in my opinion is a very good thing.

KIVA is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.  The group works with field partners to provide an extensive network of microfinance organizations.  Some countries where KIVA operates includes, but not limited to:

  • Cameroon
  • Rwanda
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Togo
  • Mali
  • Zimbabwe
  • Tanzania
  • Sierra Leone

Dambisa Moyo in Dead Aid, discusses three interlinked stages to make development happen.  The three are:

  1. An economic plan which reduces a country’s reliance an aid year to year
  2. Cut back on expenditures and enforce rules of prudence and not live beyond its mean
  3. Strengthening of institutions

Moyo’s plan is very different from Sachs plan in The End of Poverty.  Sachs plan includes globalization of everything from democracies to economic systems.

Poverty abroad can hurt the United States in many ways.  Unrest in lesser developed countries can lead to violence within a country, sometimes resulting in civil war, and bringing the U.S. into the conflict.  Terrorism is one major concern for the U.S. and world.

The following videos are TED talks discussing aid in Africa:

Week 9: Sachs & Development / Moyo & China

Jeffrey Sachs suggestion in Chapter 15, The End of Poverty, is to use rich in high-income countries to lift all of the world’s extreme poor to an income that meets basic needs.  His list five reasons why the level of required effort is modest:

  • The number of extreme poor has declined to a small proportion of the world’s population (1.1 billion people)
  • The goal is to end extreme poverty, not end all poverty, and to close the gap between rich and poor
  • Success in ending the poverty trap will be easier than it appears
  • The rich today are vastly rich
  • Our tools are more powerful than ever

Sachs uses these five reasons as justification to sharing investment cost among the large nations and less than one percent of the rich-world income.  I do not think his suggestion is sustainable for the long-term.  Over time, a countries power and income can change as countries shift from phase three to phase four and beyond, as shown in the demographic transition model (Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1 Demographic Transition Model

For my country to examine the official development assistance (ODA), I choose Zambia, the country I have been examining for weeks now. Health and population, as well as social infrastructure is the main need.  According to OCED, the 2012-2013 average bilateral ODA by sector was the following:

  • Education = 6%
  • Health and Population = 33%
  • Other Social Infrastructure and Services = 35%
  • Economic Infrastructure =  9%
  • Production = 7%
  • Multisector = 2%
  • Programme Assistance = 6%
  • Action Relating To Debt = 0%
  • Humanitarian Aid = 0.71%
  • Other = 3.13%

The world’s extreme poverty rate is about 15%.  For the world average poverty has gone down by 20%, yet in some countries of sub-Saharan Africa it is not the case.  Zambia is especially the case; as data from the World Bank shows the poverty headcount of people living on less than $1.25 a day has gone up from 65.3% in 1993 to 74.3% in 2010.  There is however, reason to believe that percent has gone down as the economy is one of the fastest growing in recent years.

Chapter sixteen focuses on the myths of why aid programs would fail in Africa.  The big three he examines are:

  • Corruption
  • Lack of Democracy
  • Lack of Modern Values

Sach states that the repeated assertion of corruption or poor governance is Africa’s “venal sin”, the deepest source of its current malaise.  He makes a connection between a country’s income rise to improved government, which is measured by the ability to keep the government honest.  I do not think the argument is strong enough to debunk the notion that corruption as a culprit is a myth.

The lack of democracy relates to corruption.  Work by Jeremy Weinstein has examined how the democracies of the sub-Saharan countries are just shells of democracies with one party systems and violent takeovers.

The only myth I agree with (somewhat) is the lack of modern values.  I do not believe sub-Saharan countries are impoverished because they have no regard for modern social systems.  My problem with his culture debate is while culture changes with economic times and circumstances, this process takes decades to change.

Thinking globally will help create a two-way street that can benefit the developing countries, but also the developed countries that are offering assistance and working to bring the countries out of poverty.

Moyo identifies some objections about China’s record on governance and human rights.  She notes how western countries were working on a deal with the Nigerian railroad only to get undercut by China which offered more money with no strings attached.  Many westerners are weary of China, because they are unsure of China’s endgame.  China seems not to be bothered by bad human right or the political system of the countries of Africa.  I personally believe there is an endgame to the no strings attached approach, such as opening up markets to Chinese products, I am just unsure if it is the right strategy.

Week 8: Poverty Reduction Strategy Plans & Foreign Direct Investment

The two countries poverty reduction strategy plans (PRS) I examined was Ethiopia’s Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP) and Kenya’s Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS).  I chose them because of the proximity to each other.

The first thing that I noticed in the introductions was the description of the downward trends in the economy in the 1980s and 1990s.  Ethiopia by far had much more of an in depth PRS.  The part of the includes a poverty performance profile with analysis on a linkage between growth and poverty.  Both PRS have implementation framework at the end of the reports, yet it stood out to me how Ethiopia addresses it so early and often.

JPMorgan EMBI league table

The J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus (EMBI+) is a market capitalization-weighted index based on bonds in emerging markets. The EMBI series which covers all of the external currency denomination debt of the emerging markets, as opposed to simply Brady Bond investment.

After examining the J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index, Sub-Saharan Africa seems to increase at a steady pace in the mid-1990 till 2008.  In 2008 around the time of the global recession, a shape spike is seen from 366.917 to in 2012 563.346.  As Moyo points out, emerging-market debt has the advantage of being counter-cyclical to the developed business cycle, since, in a global recession, poor countries can find it cheaper to repay their debts.

Cover of Dead Aid (Source: http://www.dambisamoyo.com/)

I believe some countries are not appearing on maps and graphs because the debt is so small compared to the other countries.  For the EMBI+ map it appeared the next BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Southern American countries made up the index.  When looking through the World Bank data, Zambia debt is next to nothing, compared to the developing Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first thing countries need to do is recognize that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is the engine for economic growth. It has benefits, such as, just to name a few:

  • Create more jobs
  • Welcome cash to support development initiatives
  • Improve management expertise
  • Aid indigenous firms

Investors also need to know and believe they have some means of recourse – some regulatory system. Attractive tax structures are a great way to lure investors in, which Sub-Saharan countries must do to woo FDI investors.

China and India have been giving a lot in FDI funds which has increased the global flows of FDI since Sachs and Mayo book has been published.  Although China was mentioned in Mayo’s book, the global treads have followed with a slight increase.

The main problem of Zambia with FDI is attracting the investment.  According to www.heritage.org,

  • Zambia’s economic freedom score is 58.7
  • Its economy the 100th freest in the 2015 Index
  • Its score is down by 1.7 points from last year

Factors deterioration in half of the 10 economic freedoms include:

  • Trade freedom
  • Business freedom,
  • Investment freedom, and the
  • Control of government spending, that outweigh improvement in freedom from corruption.

The commodity-linked economy has grown but the economic freedom has seen a sharp decline, which in a way makes the the economy one-dimensional, which can lead to the resource curse.  Zambia’s economy will need to become more free if it wants more FDI.