Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

Triple deficits and long run prospects for Zambia

Education

I’m writing this from the historic city of Malacca in Malaysia, overlooking arguably the most important bit of sea for global trade over the last 1000 years. However, more on this later as I’m reverting in this blog back to Zambia, mainly for teachers and learners focusing on the OCR pre-release. So if you’re not interested in Zambia or teaching OCR this year, feel free to wait for the next update! Having taught the OCR syllabus for 6 years and spent 6 months in Zambia over that period, I thought it would be useful to add some thoughts on the pre-release,  linking with Tutor2U’s excellent resource pack. Moreover, if any teachers want to skype me into their classroom, get in touch and we’ll try and sort out a time over the next few weeks!

 

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Triple deficits and Economic Crises in Zambia

Triple deficits and Economic Crises in Zambia
currency chart

Kwacha on the run….

I concluded my last blog suggesting that this week I’d be exploring the role of China in Africa using Zambia as a case study. However, my conversations since stepping off the MV Liemba, whether with roadside tomato sellers, farmers, mining executives or indeed Chinese businessmen, haven’t strayed far from the currency. The Kwacha value against the dollar has halved in the last 2 years, with the majority of the depreciation coming in the last 6 months (chart below). And when an economist with more than 40 years experience in Zambia tells you that the underlying economic crisis, caused by a perfect storm of three deficits, is shaping up to be the worst he can remember, the Chinese blog can wait…

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A positive Legacy from the Colonial period in Tanzania?

A positive Legacy from the Colonial period in Tanzania?
Boarding the Ship

 

All aboard the MV Liemba… (literally)

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Stage 3: Many miles travelled but not all on the bike....

Lakecampingjpg

This stage was a bit of a mixture and rather exciting,  involving cycling through remote North-Western Tanzania, a voyage on a 100 year old German warship and breaking out a new friend out of a Zambian prison...

  After crossing into Tanzania we had several more tough days, even though the road was tarmac there were great swathes of sand, gravel and potholes and the hills continued. I was not happy. We had our first night seeking hospitality and camping in a homestead which was fun and we certainly amused the family when we put up our tent. The road then ‘officially’ turned to dirt and it started raining and as we were running out of time to get to Zambia we hopped on bus for a few hundred km. This was an interesting experience, we cannot quite believe that we, our panniers and our bikes all made it in one piece!  

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The Bicycle - A merit good and an integral part of sustainable transport solutions?

A recent economic study1 found that bicycle ownership can boost household income in sub-Saharan Africa by 35%.  I may be biased given my passion for cycling but I think there are indeed some very strong economic arguments for encouraging more bicycles both in the developing and the developed world.

The bicycle: more than just a mode of transport

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Stage 4, Part I- Lusaka to Nymibe: Hills, Heat, Headwind & Horseflies.

Having not done any proper cycling for 3 weeks, it was always going to be a tough first couple of days back in the saddle, made worse by a constant headwind, serious hills & rising heat. The addition of some nasty horsflies & limited vehicle support probably made this the most physically challenging stage so far...

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