The social value of this article is a demonstration of the impact of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative on Zambia and how, in response, faith-based organisations had attempted to influence public economic policy for the betterment of 80% of Zambians who lived under the 'poverty datum line' and spent one U.S. dollar a day per capita by 2002, when compared to almost a decade earlier, and who experienced a reduction in life expectancy from 54 years in the late 1980s to 37 years in 2002. The knowledge gap which this article sought to narrow is a lack of adequate reflections on the role of faith-based organisations in addressing economic instability and increasing poverty among majority citizens. The methods used were mainly qualitative in nature, which examined both primary and secondary sources of data. The findings were that the situation of adverse social dislocation of the majority was unlikely to be any better in and beyond 2002. Experience showed that in the year 2005, the socio-economic situation of the majority was still pathetic.
INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS : This article sought to highlight the specific role which faith-based organisations played in the orientation of the state towards a 'reconstructed society' in Zambia. The paper challenged the view that socio-economic development matters are a preserve of development experts and politicians only. Instead, the paper argued that the path towards economic stability and prosperity called for the involvement of all stakeholders, including faith-based organisations.
This paper was originally presented by the author during the All-Africa Council of Churches workshop on ‘Governance, Ethics and Morality’, held at the All-Africa Council of Churches Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 31 July 2005 to 04 August 2005, and has now been updated to suit the current times.