Determinats of rural poverty in Zambia: A household level analysis using expenditure as proxy of wellbeing
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Poverty remains an issue in third world countries. Zambia still lists among the poorest nations in the world. Government has continued to prepare poverty reduction strategy papers, and formulated several policies in the fifth national development plan of 2006 with the aim of poverty reduction, yet there still remains a challenge of effectively reducing the risen level of rural poverty. This research was aimed at providing more information on the factors related to rural poverty in Zambia. The objectives of this research were to establish the level of living standards that rural population were facing, and to identify those factors strongly associated with rural poverty in Zambia, as well as give recommendations for solution. The study used the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey rural household level data collected in 2004 to examine probable determinants of poverty status, employing a log-linear multi-regression model. Developing such a regression is motivated by considering a household production process that takes human capital endowments and constraints faced by a household and use them to produce well-being, proxied by expenditures. The study found that the human capital variables Age of head, Sex of head are not significant determinants of expenditures, (p values of 0.275 and 0.753 respectively). Dependency ratio, Adult equivalence and household size are also not significant determinants of expenditures, (p values of 0,345, 0.505 and 0.47 respectively). Ownership of selected household assets Oxen, Plough, Tractor, Hummer-mill and Radio tested not significant, (p values of 0.518, 0.685, 0.376, 0.673 and 0.959 respectively). Only distance to hospital, input market and schools, as well as education of household head and title to land tested significantly as determinants of expenditure, (p values of 0.031, 0.002 and 0.02 respectively). Geographical location of household, also significantly affected household total expenditure, according to province. It has been recommended that programmes that cover problems associated with isolation are critical, especially that the government of Zambia does not use the policy of pan territorial pricing. There is also pressing need for programmes that discourage households from withdrawing children from school. Programmes designed to provide off-farm income generation activities or services should be linked closely to agriculture. Further research should be done to investigate the regional factors that explain differences in expenditure patterns depending on the province of a rural household.
The University of Zambia