The economy of Zambia has been hit in recent years by the slump in world copper prices, the disruption of trade routes and the effect of international sanctions on neighbouring Rhodesia.
The economy of Zambia has been hit in recent years by the slump in world copper prices, the disruption of trade routes and the effect of international sanctions on neighbouring Rhodesia. Now the land-locked African nation is facing a drought and possible famine, which could push its financial state over the brink of crisis into collapse. President Kenneth Kaunda is appealing to all Zambians to try and prevent disaster by making individual economic sacrifices, but many of the factors controlling the situation cannot be altered by mere belt-tightening.
SYNOPSIS: Most of these cars have been ordered by the Zambiar government for official use. Some are destined to be used during the forthcoming Commonwealth leaders conference, but few private individuals can afford to buy them with the price inflated by problems associated with imports and the poor rate of exchange. As a result, second-hand vehicles are in great demand - and it's a sellers' market with a roaring trade in restoring old cars to meet commercial and private needs. Apart from the fall in the price of copper, Zambia is also trying to cope with grave transport problems.
Until October last year Zambia was enforcing an economic blockage on Rhodesia, which closed the country's southern link with the coastal port of East London in South Africa. More than one hundred thousand tons of copper were stranded between the mines and a port. In the face of the worsening economic situation, ...and food shortages, President Kaunda decided to open the rail line and also the Benguela railway linking the copperbelt to Angola's Atlantic coastline, which and been closed by the Angolan civil war.
Apart from the desperate state of Zambian industry without the revenue from copper sales which provided ninety percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings, the decision to open the railway lines was taken in the face of a cute agricultural problems caused by lack of fertilizers. The staple crop of maize was already suffering from the effects of drought and the annual production figure could have been halved, causing famine. Inflation is already running at around fifteen percent and unemployment is rising. Manufacturing firms cannot provide work while coping with the severe cash flow problems caused by high production costs, export delays and low market prices.
At the height of the crisis, President Kaunda called on all Zambians to exercise economic restraint and announced government cut-backs, Certain basic foods are still scarce or expensive. On top of everything else the country has to cope with the repercussions of its support for the Patriotic Front guerrillas fighting for black-majority rule in Rhodesia, which has cost more than one thousand lives in Rhodesian raids into Zambia.