Nestled at the intersection of central, eastern, and southern Africa is a country known for its abundant high-grade copper reserves.
Accounting for about 6% of the world’s known copper resources, Zambia is a world-renowned producer and exporter of the versatile metal.
For centuries the people of Zambia have been trading in copper. Indeed the mining of copper, coal, cobalt, emeralds, and other subterranean treasures continues to be a driver and support for the Zambian economy, but not without leaving deep scars.
Despite exporting large volumes of copper each year, Zambia still has one of the highest levels of poverty in the world.
Ordinary Zambians have paid the most for mining’s narrow economic contributions. Spillages of harmful chemicals and emissions of toxic gases into the environment have compromised their communities’ health and that of their crops and livestock.
In the current era of Global Goals (the Sustainable Development Goals), ensuring sustainable development has become an important part of the Zambian government’s agenda. Yet it is quite clear that with an economy heavily dependent on copper mining, this is a mammoth task.
While agriculture is also an important sector of Zambia’s economy, it is increasingly under threat of climate change and volatile commodity prices. Moreover, realising agriculture’s full potential requires heavy investments in equipment, technologies, and chemicals, all of which present sustainability challenges.
Facing the challenges, the government has the mandate to steer Zambia towards a development trajectory that meets the needs of current and future generations.
The solution lies in alternatives, diversifying the economy away from the traditional sources of growth to more sustainable possibilities.
Wealth is about having options and Zambia has just the right blend of resources to give her a more sustainable option for development; an option that protects rather than destroys the environment and human life.
This is an excerpt from an article by Shamiso Nyajeka, originally published by The “Good Tourism” Blog.