By 2010, Zambia was recovering fast from the global financial crisis. This was partly due to what observers view as ‘prudent’ macroeconomic management before and in response to the shock. By end 2009, the current account balance and balance of payments had moved into surplus, and growth was projected to recover to pre-shock rates, despite the dramatic drop in the global price of copper and depreciation of the kwacha in 2008.
But how had people experienced the shocks? As in much of the region, staple food prices remained high over 2009, so that by early 2010, there were few signs that poor people in either of the two communities were better off as a result of macroeconomic recovery. Worse, for the chronically poor of Zambia, the social impacts of crisis have meant a major lost opportunity: the official response to the crisis included jettisoning recently-introduced taxes on copper mining, which could have contributed to much-needed pro-poor public spending.