Zambia is suffering a severe hangover from its decade long commodity boom, as mounting debt and energy shortages are crippling the once vibrant economy. Zambia has seen a decrease in GDP growth from an average of 7.4% from 2004-2014 to barely 3% for 2016. This figure is only slightly above population growth. When annual inflation is added – which despite having decreased from 22.9% in January to only 8.8% in November – it reveals that the livelihoods of Zambians are actually regressing. This slowdown has affected the government’s bottom line, as Zambia’s national debt continues to pile up.
According to the Special Adviser from the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Antoine Marie Moustache, the nation’s farmers in 2013 requested that their agricultural land have alternative uses, and one proposal was agro-tourism. The session on Tuesday looked at how to develop the agro-tourism business, which involves any agriculturally-based operations or activity that brings visitors to a farm. In Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, ten people are presently doing this form of business.
Government has said despite persistent efforts to boost trade within Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the value of intra trade within the region has remained quite low.
Zambia has been battling the problem of maize smuggling to neighboring countries following a high demand for the commodity. Zambia is among the few countries with surplus maize following poor rains experienced in the 2015/2016 season in southern Africa.