THE Zambian economy is growing at a slow pace of 3 percent but this does not mean it is in recession, says World Bank senior economist Gregory Smith.
Making submissions on high poverty levels in the face of sustained growth in Zambia to the economic affairs, energy and labour Parliamentary committee, Mr Smith said the Zambian economy was still growing.
He said the economy was going through a difficult period but was quick to mention that it was however steadily growing at the rate of 3 percent.
“The economy is in difficult but we are still growing at a very slow rate although not as high as we like; it is not in recession, it is growing at 3 percent, we are disappointed by this but it still means that it is still growing,” he said.
Mr Smith also said Zambia in the past years had recorded less poverty levels as compared to other African countries such as Madagascar and Burundi among others.
He said although Zambia, like many other countries, had struggled between 2005 and 2011, it had less poor people.
“Zambia has less poverty than most countries but the crucial point to make about this growth is there is very little change.
“Zambia has struggled between 2005 and 2011, what we are waiting for is the 2015 data but the key point to note is that Zambia has less poor people compared to other countries, so there is more analysis needed for that growth,” he said.
Mr Smith however emphasised that alleviating poverty was tough and complex.
Meanwhile, Mr Smith said the bank would support any developmental programme instituted by the Government in trying to alleviate poverty such as the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP).
He said the bank was here to offer advice on how certain programmes were best designed.
“The bank will support any programme Government wants to engineer; we are not here to tell them what to do but here to provide advice, improve and how a new programmes are best designed.
“Helping people move from poverty while alleviating is a tough and complex thing to do; we all need to learn and work together to find common solutions,” he said.
Mr Smith said there was need to monitor how Government programmes were benefiting the people and if they were enough to alleviate poverty levels in the country.
He said the bank was putting together a public expenditure review of Zambia’s education sector to ensure that funds were spent in the best possible way.
“We can support the education sector if we receive demand from Government; right now our team is putting together a public expenditure review of the education sector.
“The team is looking in detail on every Kwacha spent to see if the Kwacha is spent in the best possible way. This requires improving value for money,” he said.