Zambia’s “alarming rise” in Prices Putting Dignity of Vulnerable at Stake: Jesuit Scholars

Muchimba Sarah Siamachoka, Programme Manager - Social and Economic Development · Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection - JCTR reading the message of the Catholic entity. Credit: JCTR

Officials of the Zambia-based Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have expressed concern about what they describe as an “alarming” hike in prices of good and services in the Southern African nation.

In their Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) statement outlining the cost of living for February 2024, JCTR officials say the upward revision in prices is putting the dignity of vulnerable Zambians at stake and call for urgent interventions to safeguard livelihoods.

There has been “an alarming rise in living expenses concerning essential commodities,” JCTR officials say, and lament about “an alarming rise in living expenses concerning essential commodities with an upward adjustment of 7.9 percent in comparison to January 2024.”

In addition to essential commodities, officials of the Lusaka-based Jesuit entity say there has been an increase in prices within the non-food items section in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, primarily attributed to increased utilities in February 2024.

They further say that the Southern African nation is expected to “grapple with the repercussions of an unfavorable farming season” due to the ongoing drought.


Officials of the Jesuit entity that is engaged in research, advocacy, education, and consultancy on social issues express their concern about the dignity of a section of Zambians amid the rise in prices of goods and services. 

They say, “Vulnerable communities, already burdened by challenging living conditions, are at risk of sliding into poverty, putting their dignity at stake.” 

In light of the high cost of living and the expected effects of drought, JCTR officials say there is an “urgent need for concerted efforts to address the challenges faced by the majority of Zambians.”

“The need for urgent and effective actions from the government becomes apparent, not as a political matter but as a responsibility to safeguard and support its citizens,” they say. 

The Jesuit scholars make “an urgent call for solidarity that resonates as a beacon of hope and support for those navigating the tumultuous waters of economic adversity in Zambia.”

More in Africa

They emphasize the need to have “initiatives aimed at improving knowledge and empowering individuals to efficiently manage their resources in response to the increasing cost of living.”

They further call for investment in short-term water resource management strategies, including water trucking to affected areas, temporary water storage solutions, and efficient water distribution systems to address immediate water shortages.

Short-term water resource management strategies “can be achieved utilizing options such as the Constituency Development Fund disaster component, which must be expanded to provide meaningful interventions to the affected communities,” JCTR officials say.

They also call on President Hakainde Hichilema-led government to “implement short-term measures to stabilize the prices of crucial goods, working with stakeholders in the supply chain” and to provide financial support directly to farmers to help them recover from losses incurred because of the ongoing drought.

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.