The future of food security and climate change in Zambia
Scenarios, outlooks and challenges in the next 30 years
There are two categories of driving forces namely “certainties” and “uncertainties” that shape plausible scenarios. Certainties are drivers that can be reasonably predicted and one can, with a certain level of ease, point out how they might play out in the future. They are the ‘given’ and they form the rules of the game and used to enrich the story lines or plots. Key uncertainties are the literally that – the driving forces that are uncertain. They can include the so-called ‘known unknowns’, risks, possible trend breaks and wild cards. It is their impact and lack of knowledge about them that are the vital for developing a better understanding of how the future might unfold.
During the workshop, certain factors were identified in increased population growth, greater climate change impacts (i.e. natural scarcity, deforestation, land degradation, etc), lower contribution of agriculture to national GDP, urbanization and inadequate energy sector. On the other hand, issues related to governance and Issues related to the structure and nature of the economy, particularly with relation to commodity prices, were identified as key uncertainties and featured as key drivers of four possible scenarios:
The Yazanda Scenario
Yazanda is slang in Bemba language meaning that things are bad. In this scenario, Zambia is characterized by low economic growth and weak and unresponsive institutions. The main drivers are low prices of minerals in the wold market, low agricultural productivity due to climate change, power and fuel shortages and disease outbreaks in addition to high deforestation rates and high levels of corruption. In this scenario, unemployment rates are high in both rural and urban areas, there is high pressure on natural resources and malnutrition levels and rural poverty have reached critical levels.
The Mwadyamweka Scenario
Mwadyamweka is a slang word in Nyanja language that alludes to selfishness. Mwadyamweka is the story of a country with high and steady economic growth but with weak and unresponsive institutions. In this scenario institutions do not provide the basic services (i.e. education and health) which are required to support the economy, with the result that large portions of the society are deprived from economic and human development. In addition the effects of climate change through false or late onset of rain coupled with corruption and with weak and unclear distribution of agricultural subsidies led to malnutrition and food insecurity.
The Kudyela Scenario
Kudyela is a Nyanja word that means having a good time. Kudyela pictures a Zambia characterized by high and steady economic growth, institutions that are efficient and highly adaptable, prices of commodities are stable and favourable. In this scenario food security and nutrition levels are very high, also thanks to forests and forestry resources managed in a participatory manner as well as to adoption of Climate Smart Agricultural practices.
The Nalimai Scenario
Nalimai is a world in Lozi language meaning the unfortunate one. This is the story of a country with low economic growth but with institutions that are efficient and highly adaptable. Opposite to Mwadyamweka, in this scenario despite good institutions, the economic situation of the country does not improve and policy implementation is hindered by lack of resources and by large dependence on external aid. This is mainly due to focus of policies and institutional efforts into food security and agricultural intensification at the expenses of natural resources which are degraded and overexploited. Sustainability is a challenge.
What do you think are the main drivers of and obstacles to development for Zambia in the next 30 years?
Keeping in mind that each scenario represents an extreme future, how plausible do you think the scenarios for Zambia are? What would you like to add/change in each scenario to make it more plausible from your perspective?
What solutions would support the drivers of the best scenario and help overcome obstacles encountered on the way? How about overcoming the challenges of the worst scenarios?
What are the key first steps needed to get a change process in motion, and who needs to be involved?
To read the complete scenarios for Zambia click here