Zambia’s fossil-fuel subsidy cuts help climate and kids – but taxi drivers suffer

(Climate Home News, 2 Apr 2024) The Zambian government’s cuts to fossil fuel subsidies may be helping reduce the use of planet-heating oil – but they are causing hardship among groups that rely disproportionately on fossil fuels to make a living, including taxi drivers.

The green policy aims to boost both climate action and the heavily-indebted Zambian economy, but taxi drivers in Lusaka, the southern African country’s capital, told Climate Home they are suffering from rising prices for driving and food.

“We have been hit hard,” said 29-year old Masuzyo Kampamba, as he motored down a two-lane highway towards past crowds of children celebrating national youth day last month. 

Kampamba doesn’t feel able to get married and start a family as he would not be able to provide for them due to the high cost of living.

Waiting outside the upmarket East Park Mall, driver Stephen Musanda said he is struggling too. 

Filling up his regular Toyota taxi used to cost 17 kwacha ($0.70) a litre – for which he now pays 31 kwacha ($1.30). “It’s hard for a common driver like me to survive,” he said.

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Climate Home News, 2 Apr 2024: Zambia’s fossil-fuel subsidy cuts help climate and kids – but taxi drivers suffer