The third World Bank Zambia Economic Brief has revealed that the country’s economic growth will remain strong provided government ensures policy maneuverability.
The 57 page brief which has been officially launched at a ceremony held in Lusaka June 17th indicates that the strong growth of above 6 percent that Zambia has been registering over the last few years is also not guaranteed.
The brief says this is in view of the external challenges that are building up and the tightening up of international financial conditions as well as the decline in copper prices.
The brief has further pointed out increasing interest rates, inflationary pressures, the need to strengthen market confidence and high expenditure as some of the concerns the World Bank envisages the country should look into.
Speaking earlier at the launch of the brief, World Bank country Director Kundhavi Kadiresan observed that against this background the Zambian government is battling a high budget deficit which is also having an impact on the macroeconomic stability of the country.
Dr. Kadiresan however notes that her bank’s brief on the country’s economy indicates that there are some positive signs on the trade front as Zambia’s exports have been growing even after excluding copper.
She says this is a sign that the talk of diversification is now happening and should get momentum if right policies are adopted adding that it is for this reason that her bank’s third brief thus highlights some of the policy directions Zambia can do to get the best out of its natural resources and human capital.
And Agriculture Minister Wilbur Simuusa, who graced the launch of the brief, reaffirmed government’s commitment to sustaining policy consistency.
Mr. Simuusa says government’s policy direction in the Agriculture sector is to increase production by increasing land for agricultural activities as well using irrigation besides the rain fed farming.
Meanwhile Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has disclosed that government intends to reduce budget deficits to 4 percent of GDP in the year 2015 and 3 percent of GDP in the year 2016.
Mr. Yamba says this is why the World Bank brief on Zambia’s economy is timely and that such continued publication does go a long way towards providing important and independent information on the performance of the economy thereby dispelling inaccuracies that may arise on the state of the country’s economy.
The Third World Bank Zambia Economic Brief is based on the title ‘Promoting Trade and Competitiveness:What Can Zambia Do?’