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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mwanakatwe’s comments on the status of Zambia’s foreign reserves deeply worrying-CTPD

Headlines Mwanakatwe's comments on the status of Zambia’s foreign reserves deeply worrying-CTPD

Zambia's Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe
Zambia’s Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe

The Centre for Trade Policy and Development says it finds the recent statement by the Minister of Finance, Margaret Mwanakatwe, on Bloomberg concerning the status of Zambia’s foreign reserves deeply worrying.

CTPD Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo says the rapid depletion of a nation’s foreign reserves or international reserves must be a cause for serious concern and should not be taken lightly, especially by the Minister entrusted with the responsibility to oversee and manage public finance.

Mr. Mwaipopo said Countries keep stock of foreign reserves in order to maintain foreign currency liquidity in case of an economic crisis and this is why such reserves are translated into month of import cover-implying the need to have reserves to cover imports in case the country’s ability to earn more currency is negatively affected.

He said the Central Bank also keeps foreign currency in order to instil investor confidence, to make sure the country meets its external obligations and to keep the financial market stable.

Mr. Mwaipopo noted that the rate at which Zambia’s foreign reserves are depleting cause for serious remedial measures as failure to do so may result in the country failing to honour external debt obligations with respect to the Eurobonds, reduced FDI due to falling investor confidence, experiences lower economic growth, and exposes itself to currency attacks.

He said the Central Bank will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the inflation rate and respond to exchange rate depreciations.

Zambia’s foreign exchange reserves were estimated at $2.4 billion in April, 2017 but as of February, 2018, Zambia’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US1.867 billion which is roughly two months of import cover.

Most recently, the reserves have been estimated to be around US$1.2 billion as at end of March 2019. This means the reserves have been depleting by about US$600 million per annum on average between 2017 and 2019, based on this CTPD estimates that Zambia will have no reserves by 2021 to cover the US$750 Eurobond bullet payment if the situation is not corrected.

Mrs. Mwanakatwe cited Zambia’s rich mineral resources in copper, gold and uranium and stated that the Bank of Zambia will now start having gold reserves.

Mr. Mwaipopo said although it is true that central banks can also diversify into gold reserves, this may not work for Zambia and if this was the alternative solution, Zambia should have done it many years ago.

He said Government should therefore not take the depletion of foreign reserves lightly as this has the potential to unleash a host of macroeconomic and social hardships on the economy and the Zambian people.


  1. Reality is now dawned on us. We voted for people to run the country’s affairs but alas the people we voted for have ruined our lives.

    • Do you still have hope in an economy that is managed by alcoholics? Forget! They are drinking even the little foreign reserves that are there.

    • PF has done more damage to Zambia than UNIP and MMD combined…..Lungu only cares about his pockets no wonder he has a clueless Finance minister….she said they’ve put mechanism in place that makes it impossible to steal…but she is busy stealing and all her fellow ministers are Stealing….buying property registering in other people’s names….LUNGU FIRE MWANAKATWE AND THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE WILL FIRE YOU IN 2021

    • And it turns Chishimba Kambwili also just want to enrich himself….he is busy talking to the same guys he labels thieves in PF to join him…..NO CURE FOR MOTHER ZAMBIA…and HH is now lost in the wilderness….he has GBM to please and also Kambwili to hug and kiss so that maybe he can have a chance of occupying State House

    • @1 Pompos
      And they’re all the same….Vote Kambwili same nonsense because Kambwili will be working with the same PF thieves…Vote HH same problem HH will be working with the same PF bandits…already HH has GBM big thief ex PF

    • Let he or she who enters into plot one first strengthen the supremacy of the laws of the land and governance by the 3 equal arms of government before tackling the vexing issues facing the country. It’s easy to let the law take its course if everyone acted like blind folded Lady Justice who sees no faces around her and believes in impartiality!

    • @ Pompos, actually I foresaw this situation when we had promises of lower taxes, more money in our pockets etc and hence did not vote for them.

    • Saw the interview I don’t think she knows much. She didn’t actually answer any question.

      She has a predetermined statement and she said It without relating to anything specific.

      I applaud her for applaud her though for staying calm and appearing to know what she was talking about.


      I’m a phd holder



    • Just leave Margaret alone, please do!!! Focus on your job and leave my Margaret alone.

      She is doing the best she can under the circumstances and none of you dimwits can even handle and/or do a ninth of what she is capable of doing.

      Epo mpelele,


  2. Unless we find oil , without a manufacturing base , it will be unuphill battle hence forth…..

    The investores PF were hoping will come and manufacture stuff and provide jobs have not come….we kept telling them to concentrate on manufacturing to cut imports and start exporting finished products, but they were of the mindset that foreigners will come and do that…

  3. Old economics there are various reasons why countries at every stage of the economy development will hold reserves of that much One of the reasons is imports currency management and parities speculations and holding etc

    You use reserves to create further opportunity Growth opportunities that will tripple them and simply do not hold them for cosmetic reasons off course bearing in mind the international parities and standards but the policy to hold differs from country to country and the minister has hinted to grow the reserves even further from current

    Old economics is dangerous also Consider countries in the OECD including enormous countries like China,UK,US,Japan, Korea, India, Germany,…

  4. Economics is topic for the wise.” And that’s why the Bemba’s say ichiwa Bantu” People want to talk about very complicated things when the solution is very far from being complicated. At ingombe ilede there was trade but there was no Economist present. You can go on and argue about reserves, exchange rates etc. But for as long as you don’t talk about the most important component in this
    equation then you are merely chasing wind. The world of Economics revolve around human psychology. I don’t know why the President of Zambia likes taking part in fundraising ventures n busy caring a bucket like a beggar. People will never see that that gesture puts the country on a bad spot Economically.

  5. Like i said Mwanakatwe was more worried about her Tumbuka accent and she was trying very hard to sound American or British or whatever and she ended up showing everyone how dull she really is

  6. Switzerland and see the beauty in their flexibility and re-balancing in management of foreign reserves in respect of trades and FDIs including monetary policy interventions at every cycle of their economies

    Given the Current Zambian economy that is investing the minister and the team are well on course creating a firm foundation that will effect favorable trade balances and surpluses Grow its GDP real and register surpluses on its current account balances

    Thus said she is understands the macroeconomic policies needed in reserve management to first support the domestic economic policies and international parities She said correctly no need to worry bane

  7. Mum once told me that when you invest in the soil you leap more, when you invest in the products from the soil you leap even more, when you invest in knowledge you become a king and what is invested in the stomach if fit for the toilet. Our main man invested $65m in the sky and made everyone to pay for it or perish.

  8. Yesterday(April 16, 2019) the government and its supporters were using a CV for the defence today the goalpost has changed they are saying only certified or qualified economist are the only ones to comment on economic issues of the country. The qualified economists have been quarantined by PF officials so whatever there are saying is to please ,praise and clap for the government. In terms of economic reasons,suggests,opinions,comments and ideas from the team(concern Zambians) on social media are 95% correct.In simple terms they are economically knowledgeable. At the stage we are economically limping and when you limping you can’t say only qualified doctors to help me reach the hospital when their people surrounding and concern with your health nearby.

  9. Dullards are still supporting these misfits, how can the finance minister make such careless statementsat a world for a? Bloomberg is not katondo street were you can spill anything that comes to mind. It simply means that we have educated scumbags masquerading as highly intelligent leaders and yet there is nothing to write home about. Who ever listened to that nonsense should have cause to worry as to were this economy is headed to. Cantankerous morons devoid on any sense of humanity. They have looted the treasury and now they think magic of abragadabra will work, nonsense.

  10. How do you improve your Reserves? Do you know how much we could have made from the Black Mountain? Do you know what it is to be foolish?

  11. For the very first time, Mushota and I are mutual on the assessment of the Miister’s performance during the Bloomberg interview. She had predetermined answers. She reminded me of a foolish friend who had his hand up before the teacher could ask the question which was; How many provinces are in Zambia? His answer was:The zambezi river. this is because he had a predetermined question of where did the name Zambia come from? Ba Minister come down to earth. Stop drining Junta and smiling any how.

  12. So you mean that you don’t know that parastatal firms have funding bye elections,presidential and general elections since the days of Kaunda,that have been draining the institutions financially. That was one of reasons in which the African governments preferred getting loans from China than the regular institutions like IMF,World bank or European union. Its not only councils which are financially limping but also parastatals. Zesco CEO was fired for refusing to fund presidential bye election.
    Parastatal meaning (of an organization or industry, especially in some African countries) having some political authority and serving the state indirectly.

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