Lusaka – Zambia’s economy is expected to bounce back and reach a 4% growth rate in the medium term, the country’s president said on Friday, a week after the signing of a key IMF deal.
President Hakainde Hichilema told parliament things were starting to look up for the debt-ridden southern African nation a year after his government came to power having inherited a “broken economy”.
“We have put our economy on a positive growth trajectory in the last 12 months,” Hichilema told lawmakers at the opening of the second session of the National Assembly in Lusaka.
In 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic battered Africa, Zambia became the first country on the continent to default on its foreign debt – estimated at $17.3 billion.
Hichilema, a businessman turned politician, swept to power on promises to revive the economy, root out graft and woo back scared investors to Africa’s second biggest copper producer.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved a $1.3 billion loan to help it restore fiscal stability.
On Friday, Hichilema said the government projected the economy, which contracted by 2.8% in 2020, to attain a growth rate of “4% in the medium term”.
Zambia’s kwacha, which soared against the dollar in the wake of the IMF deal, was now “one of the best performing currencies in the world”, the president said.
Inflation had also been subdued, with the country on course to achieve its targeted rate of 6 to 8% in the medium term, Hichilema added.
The president also called for the support of all creditors so that Zambia could “achieve the last mile” in restructuring its “disastrous debt”.