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Economic Development, Environment, and Food Security

A photo of Ambassador Foote as he meets with community beekeepers and members of a community microfinance organization championed by the USAID North Luangwa Ecosystem project in Mukungule Game Management Area.
U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote meets with community beekeepers and members of a community microfinance organization championed by the USAID North Luangwa Ecosystem project in Mukungule Game Management Area.
Photo: POL ECON / Zambia

Enterprise-driven economic growth, poverty reduction, and increased rural household resilience.

The USAID/Zambia Economic Development office’s approach to reducing poverty in Zambia based on three pillars: agriculture, natural resources management and access to energy. Through the Feed the Future initiative, USAID tackles rural poverty and malnutrition with activities that address policy issues, promote access to markets and enterprise development, and facilitate private-sector investment to increase agricultural production and incomes.

Zambia’s tremendous wealth of natural resources faces increasing threats. USAID programs conserve Zambia’s forests and rich biodiversity by promoting sustainable natural resources management and combating wildlife trafficking.  Through the Power Africa initiative, USAID seeks to increase the generation of, and access to, clean energy sources, particularly in rural and off-grid spaces.

Improving Natural Resource Management

Zambia’s abundant natural resources are threatened by poaching, illegal logging, over-harvesting, and habitat degradation. USAID supports the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) to improve the management of natural resources and thereby provide a long-term, sustainable platform for broad-based economic growth and poverty reduction in rural areas. Eliminating the need for foreign assistance requires lifting people out of poverty, particularly in rural areas.

This is done through Community- and Partnership-Based Natural Resource Management models that place communities at the forefront as the primary beneficiaries. USAID is building the capacity of local organizations and government institutions to improve law enforcement, training, and sustainable natural resources management capacity.

Expanding Markets and Trade

USAID engages private and public sector organizations, business and industry associations, international development agencies, and financial institutions to deepen regional economic integration, promote trade with the U.S. under the African Growth Opportunity Act, and attract investments that drive commercial expansion within the region and to global markets.  USAID also provides technical assistance to the private sector on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, capacity building for border-control agencies, and SPS inspection procedures to promote regional trade and investment.

Strengthening the Resilience of Vulnerable Households

Stunting affects 40 percent of Zambian children under the age of 5. These children can face lifetime negative impacts as a result of poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation that, by limiting their ability to learn, also limit their ability to participate fully in their country’s social, economic and political life. USAID supports the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s 1,000 Most Critical Days Program (MCDP, referring to the first 1,000 days of life after birth where good nutrition is most critical to physical and mental development) to reduce stunting in 30 districts. We also work to improve the GRZ’s ability to plan, advocate, learn, and measure impact. Further, USAID works with communities and families to ensure health, nutrition, food security, and economic growth are integrated into all activities.  Special attention is given to expanding opportunities for women living in extreme poverty to become producers, service providers, and entrepreneurs. 

Improving Agricultural Policy

Utilizing robust empirical evidence, USAID, in partnership with Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), advises and guides the GRZ and other stakeholders to identify policies and investments in the agricultural sector that can effectively stimulate inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. This is achieved through high-quality research on agricultural, food, and natural resource policy; integrating research findings into national, regional, and international programs and policy strategies; and supporting the development and strengthening of capacity for policy research, analysis and outreach.

Improving Access to Water and Sanitation

The USAID-funded Mawa Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program follows the recently culminated five-year Mawa project, which made significant progress in agriculture, health and nutrition, and climate change resilience.  Despite significant improvement in these areas, access to safe water, sanitation conditions, and adoption of hygiene practices among community members with children under two pose significant risks to maintaining the progress made in the original Mawa Project. The Mawa WASH program aims to safeguard these gains and drive new initiatives to improve basic access to clean water and sanitation. The Mawa WASH program takes a targeted and needs-based tailored approach to ensure each community has the services needed to maintain and improve the quality of life.

Last updated: September 24, 2020

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