quick hits on Zambia and beyond

In case you missed it, Zambia is a middle income country – at least according to the Bank. This sort of shows in some parts of Lusaka. But Zambia is also a highly unequal and very poor country. Most people in the countryside have nothing else to do but subsistence farming and burning charcoal. The economy is also heavily dependent on mines and foreign owned consumer goods outlets from South Africa and beyond. Which is sad really, given how much arable land it has.

Does anyone know why Zambians use military time? Forget 4 PM, it is 16 hours in Zambian time. The people I have asked have speculated that it is a legacy of the mining industry. I find it fascinating. Taxi drivers think I am weird every time I bring it up.

Also, why is everyone in Lusaka out to some workshop???? Seriously. This is a big problem here. I have had to cancel about five appointments because the only person at the office was the security guard. When do people have time to do their work?

Moving a bit beyond Zambia, be sure to follow the Kenyan cases at the ICC. I am withholding blogging on the issue until the pre-trial judges make their decision. Whichever way they go it will have important ramifications for Kenyan politics. Next year is a make or break for Kenya.

Be sure to check out the Economist’s piece on South Sudan. The teething problems for the new nation will be epic and will take time to go away.

And lastly, check out Jim Fearon on Libya. HT Platas-Izama, who has a new blog here.

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2 thoughts on “quick hits on Zambia and beyond

  1. What does very poor country mean? Middle income and very poor should never be used in the same sentence! How would you describe a low income country? Or are you just having a dig at Zambia? How nice within a few days of your visit you’ve managede to work out as to who owns what! All developing countries that are classfied as ‘middle income’ tend to have the same problems of ‘inequality’. Ever been to India, Brazil, Argentina, Namibia or South Africa?

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  2. Hi Ireena, thanks for your comments. Wasn’t having a dig at Zambia, really. Just wanted to highlight the fact that its middle income status is not plainly apparent in many parts of the country.

    Of course that does not mean that there is no inequality in Honduras.

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