Nearly two-thirds of Zambians see the country as heading in the wrong direction, the latest Afrobarometer report has revealed.

And according to the same report, 62 percent of Zambians feel the Patriotic Front is performing poorly in managing the economy.

Meanwhile, the Afrobarometer report has also revealed that 39 per cent of Zambians have considered moving to other countries in search of employment.

The report, which was prepared by Afrobarometer publications manager Brian Howard and Afrobarometer regional communications coordinator for Southern Africa Gugu Nonjinge, was released May 3 and titled ‘Amid rising dissatisfaction, Zambians give government poor marks on the economy’.

“Nearly two-thirds of Zambians (65%) see the country as heading in the wrong direction. Economic issues rank high among the most important national problems identified by citizens and dominate reasons that one in four Zambians have considered emigrating. Six in 10 Zambians (60%) describe the country’s current economic conditions as “fairly bad” or “very bad,” a sharp increase from 36% in 2013. A similar proportion (62%) think the current administration is performing poorly in managing the economy, an increase from 35% in 2013,” read the report.

“Almost half (46%) of Zambians describe their personal living conditions as “fairly bad” or “very bad,” an improvement from 2009 but considerably worse than in 2013. More than half of Zambians say they went without enough food (58%), without needed medical care (53%), or without a cash income (85%) at least once during the previous year.”

The report revealed that 60 percent of Zambians felt the country’s economic conditions were bad.

“A majority (60%) of Zambians see the country’s present economic conditions as “fairly bad” or “very bad” (Figure 4). The proportion who see conditions as “fairly” or “very” good has dropped to 27%, a modest decrease from 2014 (33%) and a huge decline compared to 2013 (54%). Still, Zambians are more positive about the present economy than they were in the years before 2013, when negative perceptions averaged 67%,” the report read.

“Negative assessments of the government performance on overall management of the economy are also reflected with regard to specific economic issues such as creating jobs, keeping prices stable, and narrowing gaps between rich and poor. On unemployment, for example, only one in five Zambians (21%) think the government is performing well, a proportion that has declined from 32% in 2013 and 28% in 2014.”

Meanwhile, due to their perceived poor economic conditions in Zambia, 39 per cent of citizens have considered moving to other countries in search of employment opportunities.

“Economic issues rank high among the most important problems that Zambians say their government should address (Figure 2). At the top are unemployment and health care, each cited by 33% of respondents as one of their top three priorities. Agriculture (28%), poverty (24%), management of the economy (17%), food shortage/famine (11%), and infrastructure/roads (10%) are other economic issues that rank in the top 10,” read the report.

“Moreover, economic considerations dominate reasons that Zambians consider emigrating from their country. Among the 26% of respondents who say they have given at least “a little bit” of thought to the possibility of emigrating, the most frequently cited reasons are to find work (39%), to find better business prospects (17%), and to escape economic hardship (12%).”

According to the report, Zambians were divided over their perception of living conditions.

“Zambians are divided in their perceptions of their current living conditions: 39% describe them as “fairly good” or “very good,” while 46% say they are fairly/very bad (Figure 9). Positive assessments have increased since 2005 (26%) but fall short of the high of 56% recorded in 2013 – the only survey year in which negative responses did not significantly outpace positive responses,” read the report.

“Survey findings on lived poverty align with negative assessments of government economic management and confirm that many Zambians face substantial challenges in meeting their basic needs. Afrobarometer assesses lived poverty by asking respondents how often, during the previous year, they or their families went without enough food, enough clean water, medical care or medicine, enough cooking fuel, or a cash income. More than half (58%) of Zambians say they experienced a shortage of food at least once during the past year, including 24% who say they went hungry “several times” and 11% who did so “many times” or “always” (Figure 10). About half report going without needed medical care (53%)1 or enough clean water (48%). By far the most common deprivation is of a cash income, which affected 85% of Zambians during the previous year, including 14% who say they “always” went without a cash income while about one-fourth (24%) did so “many times” and (32%) “several times”.”

The report is based on interviews which the Afrobarometer team had with 1,200 adult Zambians in April 2017, a sample size which yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 at a 95% confidence level.

Previous surveys were conducted in Zambia in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2014.

Read full report below:

AD203-Zambia's economy-Afrobarometer dispatch-2may18 (1)