Zambian girls. Photo by: lusakajoe55 / CC BY-NC-SA

Over the last decade, Zambia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. On the backs of gains in the construction, transport, communications, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, the Zambian economy is expected to grow by 7.3 percent in 2012, up from 6.8 percent in 2011. In 2011, the World Bank reclassified Zambia as a lower middle-income country.

Yet following a period of prolonged economic expansion, Zambia continues to rank among the poorest countries in the world. In its 2011 Human Development Index, the U.N. Development Program placed Zambia 164th out of 187 countries. The Zambian government’s Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015) acknowledged that recent economic growth has not translated into significant poverty reduction in the southern African nation. According to the UNDP, Zambia has recorded mixed progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

In its 2011-2015 country development cooperation strategy for Zambia, the U.S. Agency for International Development reaffirms Washington’s development partnership with Lusaka. The document states that the overarching goal of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s programming in Zambia is to achieve an inclusive prosperity for Zambians by 2030. According to USAID, its programming in Zambia is directly aligned with Lusaka’s Sixth National Development Plan while also supporting U.S. foreign assistance priorities.

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