Ministry of National Development and Planning Permanent Secretary for Development Planning and Administration Chola Chabala says 54 per cent of the Zambian population, especially women and girls, have continued to live in poverty.

Speaking at the launch of the Zambia Engage Multimedia Presentation, Wednesday, Chabala revealed that 54 per cent of the Zambian population had continued to live in poverty despite improvements made to ease their livelihoods.

“The Engage Multimedia Presentation recognizes the progress that Zambia has achieved in the last 20 years in improving population related indicators. The indicators worth noting between 2007 and 2018 include declines in maternal mortality from 591 to 278 per 100,000 live births, infant mortality from 70 to 42 per 1,000 live birth and fertility rate from 6.2 to 4.7 births. However, I wish to state that despite all these improvements, much still needs to be done as 54 per cent of the Zambian population, especially women and girls, continue to live in poverty,” Chabala said.

He said population and development was one strategic issue that Zambia was faced with.

“Population and development is one strategic issue facing the nation today. The government of Zambia recognizes that implementing programmes on population and development is a pathway towards improving its citizens’ quality of life. This is attested by the current National Development Plan (the Seventh National Development Plan (2017-2021) pillar on enhancing human development through which interventions on population are to be realized. The results of the 1980 Population and Housing Census led the government to reappraise the role of population in national development efforts. Zambia’s first National Population Policy was adopted in 1989 following resolutions of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Mexico in 1984,” Chabala explained.

“In 2007, the national population policy was revised to take into account the resolutions of the Cairo 1994 International Conference on Population and Development that provided a comprehensive overview of the multiple linkages between population and development. Allow me to inform this meeting that in august 2019, cabinet approved the 2019 national population policy that creates a platform to ensure that development is inclusive for all segments of the population. The policy is thus premised on a multi-sectoral approach. The information being presented today is useful for national and sub national decision making. Let us use this information to inform policies and programmes to prioritise population issues in the development agenda in order to improve the welfare of the Zambian people.”

And Chabala implored stakeholders to join government in accelerating development efforts towards actualizing Vision 2030.

“I would like to assure you that the Ministry of National Development Planning, and government in general, will continue to invest in issues of population and development as well as creating opportunities and a supportive environment for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship for young people. This is with a view to help them access jobs and realise their full potential to maximize the benefits of the demographic dividend. This engage multimedia presentation therefore implores all stakeholders present here to join our concerted efforts of accelerating development efforts towards Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind,” said Chabala.