Sata steps up poverty fight

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PRESIDENT Sata says Zambia hopes to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a vehicle the United Nations is using to slash global poverty levels among other things.
Addressing a special meeting at the UN headquarters here in New York aimed at following up progress on poverty reduction through the MDGs on Wednesday, President Sata said his government is keen to make remarkable progress in improving livings standards for all Zambians.
Part of the strategy in the framework is to empower women, youths and other vulnerable groups.
“In Zambia, we recognise that the empowerment of youths, women and other vulnerable groups is the quickest way to reducing poverty,” President Sata said.
“We have developed an MDG acceleration framework that aims at addressing the multi-faceted nature of poverty, with special attention to employment creation, especially for youths and other vulnerable groups,” he said.
The President said the framework “enhances efforts to reduce inequality by pursuing inclusive growth strategies”.’
Some of the interventions identified in the framework are the promotion of rural development, increased budgetary allocations to infrastructure development and maintenance and promotion of labour-intensive methods for community projects such as roads.
He briefed the meeting about the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission, which encourages private sector participation in the economy and the social cash transfer programme aimed at reducing extreme poverty and hunger.
Mr Sata said enrolment in primary schools rose to 93.9 percent in 2010 from 80 percent in 1990 while the prevalence of underweight children declined by 6.4 percent from 19.7 percent in 2006 to 13.3 percent in 2010.
He said this is an indicator of progress towards the MDG on access to education for all and that the country is on track in achieving gender parity in primary school enrolment and literacy among people aged 15 to 24.
On gender equality, he said this is important to national development.
“Despite robust economic growth in recent years, the broad characteristic of Zambia’s poverty profile is that women continue to face severe consequences. Statistics show that 80 percent of people living in poverty are women and children,” he said.

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