Good Morning Dear Friends,
Today I wish to share with you our country’s economic outlook for 2014 which remains strong. Our country’s macro – economic objectives for 2014 are as follows: (1) Achieve real GDP growth of above 7%; (2) Attain end year inflation of no more than 6.5%; (3) Increase international reserves to cover 3 months of imports; and (4) Contain overall budget deficit to no more than 6.6% of GDP.
During the year, economic growth will be driven by developments in the agricultural sector largely on account of the good weather and our Government’s farmer input support programme. Further growth in output is expected to come from manufacturing and mining.
Manufacturing and mining are expected to benefit from increased capital imports which should increase capacity utilization, particularly among most mines. Furthermore, Kalumbila mine in the Northwestern province is expected to come on board in the fourth quarter of this year while Lubambe mine is expected to reach full production during the course of 2014.
You may wish to know that during 2013, metal exports earnings rose by 8.8% to slightly more than US$7 Billion from US$6.5 Billion recorded in 2012. This outturn was driven by an increase in copper export earnings by 10.3% to US$6.9 Billion from US$6.2 Billion in 2012. The rise in copper export earnings was on account of an 11.3% increase in copper export volumes.
High construction activities are also expected to be sustained in the year. This will mainly be in roads, commercial structures and housing estates. Construction related to the new districts will also trigger stronger output in this sector.
I am confident that with increased output in the growth sectors, Zambia’s external sector is projected to improve supported by continued growth of non-traditional exports which include: copper wire, burley tobacco, cane sugar, fresh flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, electricity, petroleum products, cement and lime, and electric cables.
Further, increased economic activities in the productive sectors such as mining should support improved performance of the foreign exchange market. MCS- 17/03/14