Sunday, June 16, 2024

World Bank gives Zambia middle-income ranking


THE World Bank has reclassified Zambia as a middle-income country,along with Ghana.

The World Bank says the upward adjustment in Zambia’s income growth is a result of foreign aid-driven interventions and surging prices of copper in the last few decades.

This is contained in yesterday’s edition of the United Kingdom-based newspaper, The Guardian.

“Zambia and Ghana are ranked 27th and 28th among 63 countries which the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income countries since the year 2000,” The Guardian newspaper reports.

Low-income countries are those with the average gross national income (GNIs) of less than US$1, 005 per person annually. Lower middle-income countries have per capita GNIs of between US$1,006 per year and upper middle-income countries have per capita GNIs between US$3, 976 and US$12, 275.

The UK newspaper says the World Bank did its annual assessment of poor countries last week and the new middle-income countries this year are Zambia and Ghana.

It states that the price of copper (Zambia’s major export) was depressed in the 80s and saw its price rise in the middle of the last decade as China and India’s economies grew and demand for copper soared.

The newspaper states that the World Bank country classifications which are used to help to determine types and levels of support provided by many aid agencies, need a rethink.

The middle-income countries now account for most of the world’s population living in absolute poverty and they need aid allocation models which will take account of poor people and deprivation beyond income.

On the Millennium Development Goals, the Guardian newspaper states that Zambia and Ghana have done well although the progress to attain the goals is slow.

“However, in both Ghana and Zambia, the number of children in primary school has climbed along with literacy rates and infant mortality has fallen. Even if they are not on track to meet the MDGs, quality of life is getting much better,” it states.

There are only 35 low-income countries remaining out of the countries being assessed by the world.

In March this year, Zambia was assigned a B+ sovereign credit by two internationally recognised credit agencies, Standard and Poors and Fitch.

[Zambia Daily Mail]


  1. What methods is the goverment using to get a trickle down effect to the majority of people in Zambia to enjoy this new status? Status means nothing with high unemployment.

  2. Zambians are not benefiting anything from the so called surging prices of copper! This reclassification has no meaning to the ordinary Zambian. People are struggling to make ends meet. Sometimes people starve in the face of so called ‘bumper harvests’!

  3. This is hogwash. Middle income my foot! Nothing is happening to the poor Zambian and the so called middle class does not exist. I wonder what the World Bank used to call a country with such high poverty levels as middle income.

  4. “quality of life is getting much better,” it states. Congrats Zed, this is big achievement all is needed now is to sustain this ranking and embark on income redisribution to narrow the gaps. It indicates prudent management of the economy.

  5. #2.
    Well they say that a fool is thirsty even in the midst of water. The economy has consistently been growing. Our reserves have grown to unprecedent levels in the last three decades. Inflation is below 10% in the last two years or so now. Employment has increased by more than 250,000 in the last two years. Roads, bridges, schools, mobile hospitals, bumper harvets. Now guys we all have the required minimum of intelligence to know that we are moving in the right direction. Only the Stup!dest person will deny this. #2.
    Well they say that a fool is thirsty even in the midst of water. The economy has consistently been growing. Our reserves have grown to unprecedent levels in the last three decades. Inflation is below 10% in the last two years or so now. Employment has increased by more t

  6. I am waiting for the bloggers with good knowledge of this economics to explain to many of us what this means to Zambia and what the prospects for the future are. How will I interpret this to my sister in the village how this will uplift her life style now that we a a middle income country????? Bloggers help me understand, sorry for the ignorance but I want t learn

  7. Misguided data from Misguided politicians. Zambians will not eat the change to medium income status. There interested in the basic necessisities which we cannot afford.

  8. There is nowhere in Charles Kenny’s Guardian blog article where he has suggested that Zambia’s graduation to middle income status is as a result of Aid. His major premise is that it is ridiculous to either attribute economic stagnation to Aid (he actually mentions Dambisa Moyo here) or to suggest that Aid alone can lead to economic growth and development. You also need an array of good governance and sound economic policies. He argues further that despite the new classification the majority of people in Ghana and Zambia still live in poverty and these countries still need intelligently targeted anti-poverty measures! The summary by the Zambia Daily Mail above is pathetic; they are misrepresenting Charles Kenny’s article!

  9. Middle income status?My Foot,what does this translate in terms of having two or even one square meal a day.
    Whilst there has been an upsurge in the economic activities of Zambia,it is only a small clique that benefits  from this surplus.
    GRZ is corrupt and society is watching.
    But for how long shall this continue? 

  10. Tell that to the millions that live on under a dollar a day! Tell that to those that go to sleep on an empty stomach, tell that to those who loiter because they can’t get a job, tell that to those who can’t afford to send their children to school, Zambia a middle income country? assess properly don’t make it sound nice for investors to flock there.

  11. Middle income it may be but lets not forget that this comes on the heels of high copper prices not the result of deft economic management by GRZ.Ours is a special case because even when we do ever get to be an upper middle income country most of our citizens will still be dirt poor as a result of having no local majority ownership of our economy.

  12. Well this is some very good news and impressive. Thanks to Mr Mwnanawasa’s prudent economic policies and the wisdom of Honorable Magande. Let us be wise and preserve this so that RB the Bozo Clown doesnt take us back to Third World Standards.

  13. Musiwa Likota,

    Good observation. It is a shame that the Daily Mail should choose to spin Charles Kenny’s article.

    However, this is good news. Unfortunately the majority of Zambians remain mired in poverty. What I think would be interesting is to get some understanding of why this is the case. I always wonder whether it is partly because of a lack of skills among many Zambians. One can also see that the country lacks labour intensive industries that would alleviate unemployment more speedily. 750000 out of a 6m labour pool is a tough ask.

  14. Please people the World Bank has given you statistical facts as to how countries are classified. The question you should be asking yourselves is what happens to your tax dollars? Is govt collecting tax from every tax payer? Is govt bureaucracy blotted so much so that it is crowding out money for investments in social services like health, education+ infrastructure? Why do you have over 20 govt ministries on a budget of $4bn when rich countries like the USA and UK with trillions of dollars in budgets have less than that? What exactly is the purpose of your celebrated District Commissioners; arent they just a cost centre? . Oh yes the World Bank has told you that you are not poor….now is the time to ask your govt the right questions! Learn to direct your anger!

  15. I also doubt this classfication. the roads are bad, the streets are dirty and few have paint on them. the majority of the people are beggers. We can’t be talking of middle income status yet. We’re still least developed.

  16. Zambia is not poor. But its people are poor. most of them do not have the leverage to tap into the new opportunities for inadequate skills, poor entreprenuarial orientation (socialism impact), politicisation of the mindset and illiteracy. Numbers will keep shooting high but with very few people (locals) enterprating them to their advantage.

  17. Oh lord, here we go being lied to, in broad day light, as long as the west benefit from our resources….!!keep it up…next we will be No. 1…

  18. Kaponyaz as usual will dispute this good news.Good work MMD and you are assured of a massive YES VOTE this year.

  19. what ever the real meaning, at least Zambia has a beter status and hope that this becomes a reality in every poor man’s home! indeed Credit is for Mwanawasa and Mangande!

  20. The report says that Zambia is moving up but does not say that every problem in relation to poverty has been solved. Even the fastest developing countries in the world such as China, India, South Africa and Brazil still have high levels of poverty. However, we should celebrate the fact that we are moving in the right direction and acknowledge the fact that addressing poverty is extremely difficult and can not be eradicated in 90 days.I congratulate the MMD administration led by H.E.R.B and I pledge my vote to you in the forthcoming general elections.

  21. This is great for our country though we need to do more especially when it comes to democracy and the kind of leadership we deserve as a nation.

  22. Quote: “Low-income countries…(GNIs) of less than US$1, 005 per person annually…Lower middle-income countries…GNIs of between US$1,006 per year…upper middle-income countries…..GNIs between US$3, 976 and US$12, 275.”

    Now going by this quote, it seems even Zambia Daily Mail does not understand the rankings. The title screams “World Bank gives Zambia middle-income ranking”, but the article goes on to list four categories of classification: Lower, Lower middle, Upper middle, and Upper income. So does Zambia fall in both Lower and Upper-middle income for her to average into a Middle-income country stated in the title? Even the range for the Lower middle-income is incomplete! So which is which ZDM? And you expect ordinary Zambians to understand and appreciate this c.r.a.p?!!!!

  23. This is all a bunch of Bull Sh*T……..dont take everything these clowns say or rank as gospel truth, how do you rank a country because of foreign aid??? we all know they will gain on interest. Prices of Copper are souring when all the profits are being externalised and a few fat govt a$% ho$# benefit!!! Take that sh*t back to your Rockafella financial reserves!! Do not mock us you fools…….!!!

  24. Income is just on paper, it’s not reflected in the reality on the ground and in people’s everyday lives

  25. Middle income country or whatever it means, the fact remain is that the majority of Zedians live in absolute poverty. But at least we are heading in the right direction, not backwards. For example, the few roads being worked on in our compounds will at least saved as some money for shocks and CVs. that little money can be used to buy bread at least for a day. or that school being built in your district will help to at least provide school places for 1 or 2 children. Its not enough and I know we can do 10 times better. Thats why we need to vote wisely and kick out under performing MPs.

    • pipo lts nt mek dis a political arena, instead lts tok abt facts of what dis page z abt…o de sem,thubs up 2 de govt 4 de hard wrk they r doin-its jst dat we pipo neva apreciate,we wnt 2 c evry thin change in a split of a second de moment we country is said 2 be middle class..they r 4getin change is neva drastic-o mayb they wnt gov 2 be deliverin services 2 dere door steps it does nt happen lyk dat zambians and it has neva hapend nt evn in de richest countries..1stly lts stop bein ignorant and 2nd bein lazy….!

  26. Cellphone Banda,

    I guess you are in the UK, right? Don’t you think you are being too impatient, or worse too cynical to your own peril. There is growth in the country. I personally agree with Ruth above that some of the problems in Zambia are structural e.g. people are unskilled, and you are coming across as someone looking to the state for everything solution(socialist orientation or you may be a charity case). Today’s Zambia is about individual emancipation. I see a lot of people in Zambia doing much better than the diaspora.

    Time to wake up, my friend.

    Otherwise you will be left by the wayside.

  27. This is good news. This PF mentality of 90 days money in the pockets thats hogwash. These are just indicators that show that the country is reaping the benefits of controlled fiscus, good governance and tough action aganist corruption. Its just like when a bank says you now qualify for gold card. It does mean something to he man in the street, but lets disect this and explain it well to people at the grass root level. It means more investors can look at Zambia as a destination than before, meaning more job creation, zambia industry can borrow more to expand, etc. There is some good that MMD has brought we just need new ideas to take this to the next level.I want to see our local government run like companies, to create more jobs & imrpove service delivery of water and housing to lives.

  28. Our GDP per capita is around $1,250. Due to the externalisation of some of the income generated from our output, the GNI is slightly lower, about $1,100; this places us in the lower threshold of the middle income countries. It has taken us a coupla years of sustained economic growth to reach this feat, making the Vision 2030 “…prosperous middle income country” goal attainable. I am assuming the term “prosperous” in the Vision 2030 means upper middle income. It can be done Zambia! With this status, don’t expect handouts from the donors and please read Dambisa’s book!

  29. i really dont bliv knw wat trick was used but pipo here are not earnig that far!!nothin is happening dwn here,

  30. Lol. Again with the negativity from some of you. Why can’t you be proud of the fact that foreign economists who are not politically motivated and are objective are telling you that your country is now a middle income country?! Do you realize how much progress that its! To go from amongst the poorest countries in the HIPC bracket to a middle income country. All of you who are saying stuff like “how is this trickling down” are foolish to put things bluntly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, even China isn’t considered a developed country yet! It took America over a hundred years to get industrialized! You seriously need to stop being so cynical. The progress will continue to trickle down as more investment occurs, a more positive and confident outlook by the Zambian people will make us a

    • In case you didn’t read the article and just commenting blindly, there only 32 countries left in the lower income bracket clown…what feet is that? And just because you live in exile (outside the country) doesn’t mean things are okay, people are suffering in this country and only a few will go to Manda Hill or Levy Junction to buy stuff. Is development building a lot of shopping malls and service businesses??? Who can afford? Open your eyes and remove your head from your A#$ and smell the coffea…..and change your name from Thought to Dunderhead….

  31. *an even more favoured economic destination. You need to stop acting like getting foreign investors to invest in Zambia is a bad thing or that we don’t need them. The more you see that this is good and the more you actually welcome the news and push for more progressive reforms, the better the country will do. This is very very good news!

  32. This reclassification, should be seen as what it is…a sign of hope that Zambia is on the right economic trajectory and that the economic policies that have been initiated by the government from 2001 to-date are working!

  33. It seems that some people really believe that if Satan is elected president, then Zambia will be the wealthiest country that the world has ever seen in 90 days! Sad thing is positive news like the construction of hospitals and schools, the bumper harvests and now this re-classification from an independent respected global organisation are not what pf kaponyas want to hear . They would would rather Zambia was ranked below Somalia and yet claim to speak for the poor. These same malcontents  were actually salivating at the possibility of conflict in W province so as to be able to hate their hatred against RB with some justification. The supposed support for PF in W province is crumbling, good economic news continues to flow and alas the snake is nowhere to be seen due to illness.

  34. This just goes to show the unequal distribution of income in this country. As someone has already observed, you guys are directing your vitriol at the wrong target (WB). We should now be putting our Govt to task as to why we have a poverty rate of over 65% and yet we are a middle income country. This Govt is even afraid to discuss the disclosure of the unemployement rate in the country because said rate will ’embarrass’ the Govt. Is this our approach to statistics, that some should not be published because the Govt will be embarrassed? Is a 65% poverty rate something this Govt is proud of since it is readily published? I expected these to be some of the contentious issues in this year’s elections, but I have been sadly disappointed. I may not vote this year

  35. This makes sad reading. What Zambia are they talking about? What is the World Bank smoking? What middle class ba World Bank please? Over 80% of Zambians live in abject poverty shame you World Bank.

  36. It is true that poverty rates are still very high in Zambia.This is the case with other middle income countries. The definition of middle income is indeed flawed. By definition, per capita GNI assumes equal distribution of the income since you are simply dividing the total GNI by the current population. There are of course other dynamics at play, like income distribution which brings in the aspect of income inequalities. The Gini Coefficient, used to gauge inequality, is very high in Zambia. But since the definition used is applied to all countries, we do indeed qualify as a middle income country, like it or not.

  37. Let’s do a little arithmetic here: assume there are 5 people in Zambia and each of these 5 people contribute the following to the total national income: person 1 ($100), person 2 ($200), person 3 ($300), person 4 ($400) and person 5 ($5,000). The total income is $6,000. The per capita income is $1,200 (calculated using the arithmetic mean which assumes equal weights: 6000/5=1200). Assume the poverty line is $500. Despite having 4 people out of 5 (80%) below the poverty line, Zambia will still be considered a middle income country by the World Bank definition. Hope this helps, especially to those people who have forgotten their “nsamushi”

  38. “However, in both Ghana and Zambia, the number of children in primary school has climbed along with literacy rates and infant mortality has fallen. Even if they are not on track to meet the MDGs, quality of life is getting much better,” it states.

  39. wow!!!!!! m so proud 2 b zambian!!!!!!!! mo ova being middle class dat meks me evn mo proud..evn tho we v gt pipo dat ignorant…so help dem all…!!!!!!

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