GOVERNMENT is committed to eradicating poverty in the country, Vice President Inonge Wina has assured the World Bank.
She made the assurance in a speech read for her by deputy minister in the Office of the Vice President Lazarus Chungu at the official opening of a World Bank seminar at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka.
Vice President Wina said this would be achieved through the monitoring, evaluation and the planning section of her ministry. Ms Wina is also Minister of National Development Planning.
“It is important that we create an environment where every Zambian has access to the development cake; that every Zambian participates in the process. That is what will reduce the stubborn poverty,” she said.
She emphasized that poverty has dogged the country for the past 40 years. The seminar was held to evaluate the World Bank programmes in Zambia covering the period 2004-2013.
World Bank Group country manager Ina Ruthenberg, who hosted the seminar, said Zambia’s over-dependence on copper had made the country vulnerable when the price of the metal fell which had brought hardship particularly to the poor.
She said copper was important to Zambia’s development but should not hold the country to ransom and that was the reason she had welcomed the IEG report which had put emphasis on rural development to fight poverty.
“We are committed to addressing poverty reduction through everything we do, and particularly rural poverty reduction,” Ms Ruthenberg said. Meanwhile, IEG director of operations Nicholas York urged the Government to apply efficient management of both the resources and revenue and pay particular attention to macroeconomics management, good governance principles, strengthen governance institutions, create jobs and diversify the economy through agriculture.
He appreciated and acknowledged the democratic governance, richness in natural resources and the economic growth in times of the copper price boom as some of the major strengths of the country.
However, Mr York maintained that it was vital for Zambia to pay particular attention to human capital development which had the capacity to convert human resources into revenue, good health for citizens, create employment and development.
Mr York advised the Government not to embark on infrastructure development influenced by political pressure but economic considerations should be the deciding factor.
He called for strict adherence to fiscal policy which was key to reducing inflation and gave copper-producing Chile as a classic success example.