LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Zambian government has called on African countries to adopt
climate resilient agricultural policies if the continent is to
adapt to the effects of climate change.
While acknowledging the adverse effects of extreme climate on
agricultural production on the African continent, Minister of
Agriculture and Livestocks Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge
said the continent holds enormous potential to improve
production if the right policies were adopted and funded.
"Climate resilient agricultural policies are one such
policies that will help Africa adapt to the effects of climate
"Climate smart agriculture will enable the continent to
contribute towards mitigation efforts," the official said at the
start of a regional climate smart agriculture policy dialogue
The two-day meeting organized by the Food, Agriculture and
Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a regional
think-tank involved in agricultural research activities, has
been called to discuss climate smart agriculture as an
adaptation and mitigation strategy to a changing climate.
The Zambian government official said the changing climate
change was threatening Africa’s agriculture and the livelihood
of many households hence the need to adopt policies to adapt to
new climate changes.
"The impact of extreme climate, whether in the form of a
super El Nino or other long-term trends, affects those that
engage in agriculture in the region.
"If affects the food and nutrition security of the region and
ultimately affects economic growth of the region," he added.
According to a Consultative Group International Agriculture
Research (CGIAR), program on Climate Change, Agriculture and
Food Security in Africa, climate change was expected to lower
crop yields by at least five percent with two degrees Celsius
increase in temperate, and by about 15 percent should warming
increase to 2.5 degrees Celsius.
On the other hand, the southern African region witnessed poor
rainfall distribution with unprecedented mix of erratic rains,
abnormally high temperatures and floods have caused havoc on
farming, damaging a significant amount of this year’s crop.
According to figures released during the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Summit in Botswana recently, the
poor rainfall distribution has left an estimated 27.4 million
people requiring food aid by the end of this year.
The meeting is discussing results of a climate smart
agriculture policy scoping exercise conducted in 15 African
nations by FANRPAN.
The Zambian government official added that it was time for
Africa to act and come up with clear roadmap on where the
continent was going with climate change and agriculture.
He has since urged African countries to make agriculture
integral to all international agreements and activities ahead of
the 21st Conference of the Parties (CP21) of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France
Agent Chula, the chairman of FANRPAN said during the same
occasion that climate smart agriculture was vital in ensuring
food security for the African continent.
The meeting, he said, will come up with required
interventions to enhance climate smart agriculture.
The meeting is also expected to come up with favorable policy
requirements for climate smart agriculture.
"The threat of climate change has never been more urgent than
today. Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the
impacts of climate change, which have negative implications on
food security and economic development," he added.
Zambia launches initiative to promote cultural tourism
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government has launched
an initiative aimed at boosting cultural tourism, the Zambia
Daily Mail has reported.
The cultural and tourist product initiative was dubbed
During the launching ceremony, Minister of Tourism and Arts
Jean Kapata said Zambia was blessed with a rich diversity of
cultures which, if well marketed, could contribute greatly to
Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"We have over 84 traditional ceremonies celebrated by 73
"This potentially viable tourism product is what we need to
add more variety to what we offer to the tourism sector," she
was quoted as saying by the paper.
The marketing of Zambia’s tourism, she said, has in the past
focused on nature, wildlife and water bodies like the Victoria
Falls to the exclusion of the cultural dimension.
She called on travel agencies to work with the government to
promote and market the initiative.
The government wants to make Pamodzi Carnival the biggest
cultural extravaganza in the country.
The first carnival will be held on September 19 and will
bring together the best of Zambia’s traditional music and
Zambia’s CPI grows 7.3 per cent year-on-year in August
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Zambia’s Consumer Price Index
(CPI), a measure of inflation, grew 7.3 percent year-on-year in
August, the country’s statistics agency announced on Thursday.
It increased by 0.2 percentage points from the corresponding
annual rate of 7.1 percent recorded in July, according to the
Central Statistical Office.
"The increase was mainly attributed to the increase of prices
in the transport division and was particularly influenced by
increases in prices of liquid fuels, road transport fares and
car license fee," John Kalumbi, the agency’s director told
reporters during a monthly briefing.
Last month, the country’s energy regulator, the Energy
Regulation Board, announced an upward adjustment in the pump
prices of fuel, a move that resulted in an increase in prices of
However, the statistics agency said the annual food inflation
for August remained at 7.8 percent while annual non-food
inflation increased to 6.7 percent from 6.2 percent recorded in
the previous month.
In the 2015 budget, the government has planned to achieve a
7.0 inflation rate by the end of this year but recent economic
developments in the country have led to speculations that this
may not be achieved.
Foreign investment in Zambia to be stable despite power
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
The head of Zambia’s investment
agency said the current power deficit which has resulted in
increased power cuts will not affect Foreign Direct Investments
in the southern African nation, the Zambia Daily Mail reported
Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) director-general Patrick
Chisanga said the country was well positioned for an upswing in
pledged investments before the end of this year.
The investment agency has projected to attract over 4 billion
U.S. dollars in Foreign Direct Investment recorded last year.
"The picture emerging from April onwards is that the
situation is showing an upswing in pledged investments and we
are sure that we will close the year on a much more attractive
investment profile than last year," he was quoted as saying by
The official attributed this to the country’s continued
political stability, which he said was a major asset in terms of
attracting investment, as well as government policies aimed at
easing the cost of doing business, licensing and support to the
Zambia is currently facing a 560 megawatts power deficit
caused by reduced water levels in the reservoirs for hydro power
The deficit has forced the government to embark on finding
alternative sources of energy. About 90 percent of Zambia’s
power needs are from hydro.
The official added that the private sector was fully aware
that the current power cuts were due to climate condition
factors as a result of poor rains experienced in the last rainy
Donors give Zambia U.S. 4.95 million dollars grant to
increase electricity access
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Co-operating partners have given
Zambia a 4.95 million U.S. dollars grant to help the southern
African nation connect more people and small businesses to
electricity, a statement emailed to Xinhua on Wednesday said.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
(SIDA) and Britain’s Department for International Development
(DFID) have released the funds under the Global Partnership on
Out-Based Aid (GPOBA), a global partnership program established
in 2003 and administered by the World Bank.
According to the statement, 22,000 low-income households and
5,000 small and medium businesses in some high density urban and
peri-urban areas will be connected to the national electricity
The electricity connections project builds on a World
Bank-supported connection fee subsidy program known locally as
"Malaiti Oye", the statement added.
"Using an Output-Based Aid (OBA) approach to reach the poor,
GPOBA will reimburse Zesco (the country’s power utility) once
the electricity connections have been made and verified by an
independent third party.
"The cost of connecting to the electricity grid is a barrier
for the poor to access power, with only half of urban and
peri-urban population using electricity for lighting and
cooking," the statement said.
Access in rural areas ranks even lower with only three
percent being connected and the project will supports the
government’s goal to make electricity accessible to two out of
three Zambians by 2030.
"This project includes additional elements to ensure that
women and other traditionally marginalized groups are among the
"Access to electricity for them will contribute to their
improved quality of life and increase their participation in the
economy, Catherine O’Farrell, head of GPOBA said in the
According to the statement, the World Bank has been active in
different aspects of the energy sector in Zambia and that the
project will enable the bank to step up its support for
improving access to electricity while testing a new and
innovative approach to reaching the unconnected households.
Zambia government official dispels drug shortage reports
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
A senior Zambian government
official has dispelled reports that the country will face a
critical shortage of essential drugs starting next month, the
Times of Zambia reported on Tuesday.
Some local media have reported that the country will face a
shortage of essential drugs in public health institutions
following government’s failure to settle a 42 million U.S.
dollars debt for medical supplies.
The reports said the country may face a critical shortage of
essential drugs such as antiretroviral drugs, anti-malaria among
others and that even if the debt is cleared now, there would
still be a crisis due to delays in delivery of the medical
products which would only be expected between December 2015 and
But Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the
country has adequate stocks of drugs to cater for all public
The government, he said, has put in place mechanisms to
ensure the supply of drugs was consistent and uninterrupted,
adding that as part of the strategic procurement planning in
2014, the government signed a framework contract with local and
international suppliers of medicines which had helped the
ministry to ensure the availability of drugs in the country.
The country, he added, had adequate stocks of antiretroviral
drugs and essential drugs to last more than seven months.
"The consignment of these drugs have already started arriving
in the country, as they are arriving in batches and we are
working very closely with our cooperating partners ad our
relationship is very cordial," he was quoted as saying by the