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Zambia A Middle Income Country Recent News

ZAMBIA ‘A MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRY’: The World Bank has re-classified Zambia as a middle- income country. According to the bank's latest report, the number of children in primary school has climbed along with literacy rates and infant mortality has fallen. Finance Minister Situmbek Musokotwane has said that in the year 2000 the average income of a Zambian was less than one million 500 hundred kwacha, while today, the average income has risen to over five million Kwacha. Dr Musokotwane said that Zambia will now be able to access more funding from international lending institutions and that the reclassification will also result in increased interest among investors. 

TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS INCREASE: The Zambia Police Service says it has recorded an increase in road traffic accidents with 5,110 accidents during the first quarter of 2011 across the country compared to 3,902 during the last quarter of 2010. Lusaka recorded the highest number of accidents with 2,710 cases while Luapula had the lowest with 48. 

UNDERGROUND OPERATIONS HALTED AT MUNALI: Underground operations at Zambia's Munali nickel mine were suspended for two weeks because of ventilation problems. Ventilation fans had to be switched off after a sink hole was discovered and the mine was evacuated, but no one was hurt. The mine is run by Australia-listed Albidon and is expected to produce around 56,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate this year. Albidon had halted operations in mid-2008 at Zambia’s only nickel mine following a fall in metals prices, but resumed output early last year after China's Jinchuan Group took a 50% shareholding and invested $37 million.

KITWE COUNCIL ALLOCATES LAND TO MMD OFFICIALS: Management at Kitwe City Council has defied a full council resolution and allocated land to Copperbelt Minister Mwansa Mbulakulima, MMD officials and others intending to develop the area for commercial purposes. The land was meant for phase four of the FIFA-funded Goal Project comprising a training stadium, offices, gymnasium and other amenities and for a new bus station. Management has apparently also misapplied K14 billion collected from the sale of plots in Kitwe West. The money should have been used for servicing the area; however, most of it was spent on vehicles for directors, travel, salaries and other expenses. 

MWANAWASA’S SON JOINS PF: Patrick, the eldest son of the late president Levy Mwanawasa, has defected from the MMD to join the Patriotic Front (PF) and has applied to stand as the opposition party’s parliamentary candidate in Kafulafuta Constituency in the forthcoming elections. Incumbent Kafulafuta MP George Mpombo has declared that he would not seek to re-contest his seat on the ruling MMD ticket. Kafulafuta is in Ndola district of the Copperbelt Province. 

FIRST QUANTUM TO PAY TAX ARREARS: First Quantum Minerals has agreed to pay US $224 million in tax arrears which the company incurred after several mining companies disputed the government's decision in 2008 to raise taxes against long-term development agreements, whose scrapping they finally accepted last year. Other companies include Konkola Copper Mines, owned by Vedanta Resources and Glencore's local unit Mopani. The companies are keen to have such outstanding issues resolved. The European Investment Bank for example has frozen new loans to commodities trader Glencore over governance issues including its Zambian operations. According to the World Bank, copper is responsible for 70 to 75 percent of Zambia’s export earnings but the mining industry as a whole only contributes about 10 percent of tax revenue. 

‘NEGATIVE IMAGE HINDERS TOURISM’: Launching the re-branding of Zambia's tourism theme, Zambia Tourism Board chairman Timothy Mushibwe said the old theme ‘Zambia, the real Africa’ was sending the wrong message to potential tourists, that Zambia is a poverty-stricken and underdeveloped country. He said that this was the reason the tourism industry is not growing. The new theme ‘Zambia, let's explore’ was unveiled and is expected to help ZTB market tourism to the international community.

APPEAL FOR RAFFLE PRIZES: The Zambia Society Trust is planning to hold a raffle later this year as a major fundraising initiative, and we're looking for offers of prizes. Can you help? A weekend break would make a great first prize if anyone could offer it, or vouchers for goods or services of various kinds 

ZAMBEEF LISTS ON LONDON MARKET: Zambeef PLC has become the first indigenous Zambian company to list on London’s alternative investment market (AIM). Zambeef reportedly raised US $55 million through the listing to pay for the acquisition of former Mpongwe ETC Bio-energy Limited for US $45 million. According to company data, the acquisition of ETC Bio-energy Limited would lead to Zambeef controlling almost 100,000 hectares of farmland in Zambia. With annual revenues in the region of K770.5 billion, Zambeef is the largest agri-business in the country.

EMPLOYMENT RATE UP 50%: The number of Zambians in formal employment has increased by 50 per cent from 500,000 to 750,000 this year following a steady rise in job opportunities being created in the mining, agriculture, construction and other sectors of the economy, according to Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane. 

DEATH OF MAXWELL MUTUTWA: The 92-year-old former Ngambela (prime minister) of the Barotse Royal Establishment, Maxwell Mututwa, has died. He was arrested earlier this year together with 20 other Lozis and taken to Lusaka Central Prison and charged with treason by the government over the Barotseland Agreement-related Mongu riots. He was released from Lusaka Central Prison when the State entered a nolle prosequi against him but he had already spent over a month in detention, part of which he spent at the University Teaching Hospital receiving medical attention. The funeral was held in Silele Village, Chief Kakene's area in Senanga District where he was born and lived until the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Florence Namangolwa, three children, 39 grandchildren and 113 great grandchildren. 

MINISTER BOOED IN KITWE: Kitwe residents booed MMD spokesperson and Education Minister Dora Siliya after she spoke ill of PF leader Michael Sata at a rally held at Wusakile High School grounds. She had attacked both his leadership and the policies of the Patriotic Front, telling the gathering that Sata would introduce homosexuality and take youths to war-torn Afghanistan if elected. 

Zambia’s population will continue growing from 13 million people in 2011 to 26 million by the year 2035, according to the Central Statistical Office. At a press conference to mark World Population Day, CSO census manager Richard Banda said Zambia had a high rate of population growth at three per cent per annum.

TWO ZAMBIAN WOMEN ARRESTED IN BRAZIL: The Drug Enforcement Commission has expressed its concern that Zambia risks being labelled as a drug trafficking country due to the rising number of drug-related cases. This follows the latest incident in which the Brazilian authorities arrested two Zambian women, both residents of Lusaka, at Sao Paulo International Airport as they were about to board a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg. They were carrying several kilos of cocaine. 

For previous news look at William and Kate Raise Funds for Zambia Recent News

Exchange Rate, 18 July 2011: £1= K7,807.60

US$1= K4,844.68

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