Statement of the Problem: Zambian Government Leasing Land

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There is a necessity for the Zambian government to explore the effects of leasing land to foreign entities, on the local population.  The purpose of this study is to collect and evaluate data regarding specific societal indicators of stability, development, and the general well-being of the population.  Qualitative methods of analysis will be applied to the following factors: income, education, HDI, urbanization, food supply, import/export data, mortality, political stability, and population perspective.  These factors will be considered relative to FDI across the past fifteen years, from 1997 to 2012, to determine the ethical and practical effects of FDI on Zambia as well as the phenomenological perspective of the Zambian population regarding FDI.

There is a lack of specific sector FDI data for Zambia, but that can be determined irrelevant because of the heavy focus on agriculture in Zambia.  Because 85% of Zambia’s population is engaged in the agricultural sector for their daily sustenance (DFID, 2002), it can be reasonably determined that agricultural investment represents the bulk of FDI in Zambia.  It is also reasonable to infer that development of infrastructures such as supply chain, facilities, and efficiency upgrades are all included in that FDI, making it a relatively comprehensive representation of foreign investment - particularly by the Chinese interest in investing in African countries.

Finally, the outcomes of this discussion will be considered in terms of dependency theory.  Zambia is a perfect example of a peripheral population being utilized by more developed nations.  Any findings of the effects of FDI on Zambia can be related directly to dependency theory, either as confirmation or disputation.  The methods for reaching these conclusions and analyzing them will be limited to data available in peer-reviewed journals, policy briefs and statistical databases of the United Nations. An emphasis will be placed on the ethical and phenomenological effects of FDI on the Zambian population.

Research Questions

1. Over a period of 15 years, from 1997 to 2012, has Zambia become more or less stable, as indicated by employment data, education, health, and political organization?

2. To what extent is FDI responsible for the changes in Zambia’s stability, as measured by the stability-related indicators relative to the degree and duration of FDI in Zambia?

3. Is FDI being ethically implemented in Zambia, as measured by income, availability of food, and general health across the 15-year timeline?

4. Has the experience of the Zambian population been positive or negative, from their perspective?

5. Do the outcomes of the study’s inquiries correlate to dependency theory claims?


Research Design

This study will utilize primarily qualitative methods to identify and evaluate the effects of FDI on the population of Zambia.  The independent variable around which this study is built is the FDI in Zambia over 15 years, from 1997 to 2012.  A variety of social, economic, and demographic factors will be considered relative to the independent variable in order to determine the extent and value of FDI’s influence in this particular nation.  Because there is no specific FDI data available, a quantitative method would be imprecise, but a qualitative analysis of aggregate FDI on the national level will inform the relevant conclusion.

Ethnographic data will be considered across the period of time under consideration to identify the effects of FDI on the national identity of Zambia.  Changes in employment, health, and political organization will indicate whether FDI has had a stabilizing or disruptive effect on this population.  This will then be subjected to an ethical inquiry to determine whether or not the presence of FDI is beneficial to the population, exploitative, or some combination.  Finally, reactions of the population to development via FDI will inform a phenomenological analysis of the independent variable to identify how the population perceived foreign influence throughout the 15 year time period.

Data Collection

The focus of this study will be on qualitative analysis and evaluation, but some data will be collected to inform this analysis.   Manual collecting the required data is outside the scope of available resources so secondary sources will be consulted.  The dependent variables to be considered are: 

Income – Specifically the poverty rate will be examined as an indicator of stability as well as a factor in the ethical inquiry.  Data will be obtained primarily from the UNHDR.

Education – Improvements in stability and development should correlate to improvements in educational achievement.  This will primarily inform the question of stability as it indicates the Zambian population’s ability to self-improve into the future.

HDI – This will provide a quick and comprehensive comparison across the timeline for evaluating the question of stability relative to FDI.  Data will be obtained from UNHDR.

Urbanization – Movement of a population from rural to urban is a classic indicator of development, but if it does not correlate with a stable or increasing food supply then it could indicate unstable population migration.  This data will inform the analysis of Zambia’s stability throughout the 15 year period and it will be used in the phenomenological discussion.  Data will be obtained from WorldBank

Food deficit and prevalence of undernourishment – As one of the basic needs of a population, it is expected that FDI would noticeably improve the availability of food to a population that is being utilized for development.  This will inform the stability and ethical inquiry relative to urbanization rates.  Data will be obtained primarily from the FAO.

Imports/exports – Specifically the nature and ratio of imports and exports will be identified across the timeline to help determine if the country is developing or regressing.  For example, there is already a Zambian market flourishing with the use of plants and herbs being used as curative medicine. It will also indicate if improvements are being kept within Zambia or if developments are primarily for the good of the investing nations.  This will inform stability and ethical inquiries as well as the correlation between research question outcomes and dependency theory concepts.  Data will be obtained primarily from FAO.

Mortality – Medicine and medical aid would also be basic needs supposedly met by a foreign investor utilizing a native population as a workforce.  Data will be sampled across the timeline to help evaluate the health of citizens for both the stability inquiry and the ethical inquiry.  Data will primarily be obtained from CIA.

Political stability – Significant governmental shifts during the time period and the nature of those shifts will be identified and evaluated to determine if and to what do degree they were caused by FDI.  Data will be obtained from reputable news sources.

Media reports regarding population – Global and local media will be consulted to find indicators of the Zambian population’s reaction to foreign investment throughout the 15 year period.  Data will be obtained from reputable news sources.

Data Analysis

As a qualitative analysis, each line of inquiry will be evaluated independently to determine the significance of the associated dependent variables.

1. Stability trends in Zambia over the 15 year period will be identified as far as can be determined from the chosen variables.  Income, education, food supply relative to urbanization,  health as determined by mortality information, import/export trends and changes in political stability with all contribute to an evaluation of stability.  This will be distinct from a literature review in that it is a “positive” or “negative” determination of the trend of Zambian development as opposed to a simple statement of facts.

2. The influence of FDI on Zambian stability will be evaluated qualitatively relative to the outcomes of research question 1.  This will indicate how much FDI is to be blamed, or commended, for the changes in Zambian stability over the 15-year timeframe.  FDI will also be analyzed relative to HDI to provide a second, more quantitative perspective on this outcome and support the reliability of the qualitative analysis thus far.

3. Factors designated as particularly important to an ethical inquiry will be evaluated to determine if FDI is being implemented responsibly and with consideration for the population.  Income, availability of food, import/export trends, and health as indicated by mortality information will be evaluated relative to the degree of influence of FDI as determined by research question 2.

4. The phenomenological analysis of the population will rely primarily on media produced locally and globally that indicates the experience of the population.  This analysis will seek to determine how the population reacted to FDI across the timeline and what effect it had on their behaviors.  Urbanization data will also contribute to this evaluation by indicating where the population’s confidence was oriented across the timeline.

5. The outcomes of the research questions will be evaluated relative to the concepts of dependency theory to determine if the Zambian experience with FDI supports or disputes dependency theory.  One data point that will particularly helpful to this part of the discussion is the import/export trends.  This data can be used to evaluate to what degree Zambia itself is benefitting from the investment, or if the investing nations really are just exploiting the nation for the greatest possible profit.