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2006 - Zambia - Country Gender Profile
Zambia, which until two decades ago, was one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, now ranks as one of the least developed countries. More fundamentally, however, the failure of Zambia’s economy over the past thirty years, evidenced by a per capita GDP that is only a fraction of the level at independence, has had the most telling effect on poverty on the country. Since independence in 1964, Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of the Country, developed the economy based on copper exports. His one-party government system saw an average annual economic growth of 2.5%, supported by the high price of copper on the international market. Since then, however, the price of copper has dropped, and there have been repeated droughts, affecting the performance of the agriculture sector, which have in turn contributed to economic stagnation. In the 1990s the government rejected the socialist model, and adopted a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), which further contributed to severe inequalities in access to social services and employment.