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The transmission of poverty and inequality in Zambia.

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The Zambian economy has experienced economic growth averaging about 7.3 percent for over a decade and a Gross Domestics product (GDP) of about US $ 29 Billion. However, this economic growth has had no real effect on most of the Zambian households who are confronted by poverty and high inequality. Zambia experiences high inequality with a Gini coefficient level of 0.69 for 2015, making it one of the most unequal societies. The overall poverty levels stand at 54.4 percent. In real terms 76.6 percent of the rural population is poor compared to urban poverty at 23.4 percent. This thesis has attempted to examine the intergenerational transmission of poverty in Zambia. This has been achieved through the use of the life history approach. Nine respondents were interviewed on more than one occasion using semi-structured in-depth interviews in order to obtain a detailed life history. This thesis has found that there are household factors and house head factors responsible for the intergenerational transmission of poverty in Zambia. The life histories have confirmed the proposition in the literature that children in poor households are likely to grow into poor adults. The findings from the life histories point to the fact that poor educational attainment by household heads; larger households; rural residence of a household; female household headship; the health status of a household head and the failure by households to accumulate enough economic assets are factors driving intergenerational poverty. This study ends with recommendation to policy makers and academics based on the findings of the study: 1. Revision of the land policy in order to guarantee land tenure to those owning land under customary law; 2. Reviewing the education policy to include punitive measures for household heads who wilfully withdraw children from school to get involved in child labour or child marriage. 3. Revision of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employers Act in order to improve the working conditions for workers working on farms in the rural areas. 4. Introduction of policies to mechanise small holder farms in rural areas in order to increase efficiency and productivity. 5. Introduce policies on conservation agriculture in order to mitigate the effects of climate change on small holder farmers.


Masters in Development Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2016.


Theses - Development Studies.