ANOTHER international credit rating company has assigned Zambia a B+ rating in debt sustainability.
Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane said Standard and Poor’s has allocated Zambia the B+ rating in its draft report.
Standard and Poor’s is one of the world’s best three professional companies which assesses countries worldwide on various parameters including political stability and economic performance.
“We have received a draft report from Standard and Poors, which has given Zambia a B+ rating on the impossibility of failing to honour external obligations,” Dr Musokotwane said.
He said this at Government Complex in Lusaka on March 22 shortly after touring part of the building under construction.
The rating comes soon after another reputable ratings agency, Fitch, assigned Zambia a B+ rating in economic growth and political stability, among other areas.
Dr Musokotwane said the latest rating puts Zambia in an advantageous position to access finance from all over the world quickly for investment.
He said the Standard and Poors rating is an indication that the economy is continuously recording growth.
Dr Musokotwane said Zambia’s economic growth translates into an increase in the country’s capacity to borrow internationally and locally. He said the rating will give institutions worldwide confidence to lend money to Government, companies and individuals in Zambia.
“When you are rated B+, you have a sticker that this is a B+ country. Institutions from different parts of the country find it easy to lend money to Government, companies and even individuals,” Dr Musokotwane said.
He said Zambia is not the only country that has been assessed by a professional international credit rating company. He cited other countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria which have already undergone assessment by credit rating companies.
Fitch, assigned Zambia a B+ sovereign rating in recognition of the huge economic strides the country has taken under President Banda.
Zambia received the fourth-highest non-investment grade rating supported by a stable outlook from Fitch.
Zambia’s economy expanded over seven percent last year, up from 6.4 percent in 2009. Growth has been driven by increased mining output, transport, communication, construction and agriculture.
The rating followed fast on the heels of global recognition for Zambia’s economic achievements in the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation’s 2011 ‘Doing Business’ report.
In the report, Zambia was named as one of the world’s top 10 reformers for ease of doing business. Zambia is also projected to be one of the world’s top 10 fastest-growing economies for the 2011-2015 period.
Meanwhile, Dr Musokotwane said he is happy with the progress Shanghai Construction General Company is making in completing the construction of the unfinished part of the Government Complex which includes a banquet hall, conference centre and offices.
Shanghai chief project engineer Jerry Zhong said the construction will be completed by September this year. Dr Musokotwane said the facility is important to the country’s economic growth as it will boost the country’s tourism.
He said the conference centre and banquet hall, with seating capacities of 1,000 and 1,900 respectively, will be the biggest in the country.
Dr Musokotwane said currently, Government is bidding for the 2013 African Development Bank conference to be held in Zambia, possibly at the Government Complex.
He urged the private sector to invest in expanding the country’s hotel and lodge accommodation to prepare for the boom expected in the tourism sector when the conference centre and banquet hall are operational.]
The unfinished part of the Government Complex is being constructed through the US$28,000 loan Government contracted from China last year.
[Zambia Daily Mail]