Zambia’s rural, peri-urban challenges need urgent solutions-Phiri

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-The seventh edition of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS) has officially opened in Lusaka with a call to participants to help Zambia push forward its agenda for sustainable socio-economic development.

Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Minister John Phiri said government was promoting an all inclusive development approach and strategy aimed at uplifting the livelihoods of disadvantaged citizens.

Dr. Phiri said this in a speech read on his behalf by his Permanent Secretary, Patrick Nkanza at the ongoing month-long seventh edition of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS) in Lusaka under the theme “better living through collaborative innovations”.

He implored participants to use their knowledge from previous IDDS events to develop innovations which will provide practical solutions to challenges in rural and peri-urban communities.

Dr. Phiri said that the hosting of the current IDDS will contribute to accelerating capacity for the development of demand-driven products, technology development transfer and the creation of reservoirs of Zambian designers and innovators.

He further said Zambia’s rural and peri-urban communities were faced with poor sanitation, limited access to health facilities, energy, poor waste management and poor environment protection among other challenges.

The Minister pointed out that the IDDS approach will complement government efforts in finding practical solutions to some of the problems of rural and urban communities.

Earlier, United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) Acting Deputy Director Joseph McGee reaffirmed the US government’s commitment to assisting the Zambian government to devise appropriate interventions for poverty reduction strategies.

Mr. McGee noted that although the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) shows that the country has recorded economic development, Zambia has failed to translate this growth into significant poverty reduction and improvement in living conditions for the majority of citizens.

He disclosed that USAID has partnered with the Zambia Agriculture and Research Institute (ZARI) and other local stakeholders in developing 290 technologies that would improve agricultural productivity in rural communities.

The seventh edition of the ongoing International Development Design Summit (IDDS) has since identified project sites in Petauke, Luangwa and Mumbwa, Chazanga and Chawama in Lusaka respectively.