Poverty and European aid in Zambia: a study of the poverty orientation of European aid to Zambia

Poverty and European aid in Zambia: a study of the poverty orientation of European aid to Zambia

Making European aid more relevant for the poor in Zambia

Paper questions whether the policy and practice of European donors, or more specifically, members of the European Union (EU), is attuned to the fact that poverty reduction is the most pressing human issue in Zambia today. Paper asks:

  • is poverty reduction a major objective for European aid?
  • if so, how is this reflected in their respective aid programmes?
  • has European aid contributed to poverty reduction in Zambia?

To explore these issues, this paper is organised around four themes:

  • the context of the Zambian economy during the 1990s
  • poverty
  • foreign aid in the national context of Zambia
  • the poverty orientation of the European donors with the largest portfolios in Zambia

It recommends strategic measures that could be useful to make European aid more relevant for the poor in Zambia:

  • there is a distressing lack of knowledge about what aid does in Zambia, particularly in terms of its poverty reduction effect. A more serious effort to strengthen the value and usefulness of evaluations for strategy formulation is urgently needed
  • donors should intensify their policy dialogue with the GRZ and more forcefully bring up poverty issues. This is particularly important in times when sector programming is becoming increasingly popular
  • decentralisation of the state administrative structure need to be matched by changing the donors mode of operation, requiring a new emphasis on interacting with the provincial and district administrative levels
  • donors should stop paying lip service to different participatory approaches and instead integrate them fully in their way of planning, implementing and evaluating their activities

[Adapted from the author]