Standard Chartered Bank says the stability of the kwacha and inflation rate has placed Zambia in a firm position to have a positive economic outlook for 2023.
The Bank has however cautioned the Central Bank to take the necessary measures to handle any risks that may come from external shocks.
Standard Chartered Bank said the Bank of Zambia needs to take precautionary steps, in the wake of investors exploring other markets.
Speaking during a presentation at a market outlook breakfast meeting in Lusaka today, Standard Chartered Bank Head of Research for Africa and the Middle East, Razia Khan says the debt restructuring plan via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal gives positive prospects for Zambia’s economy.
“Restructuring hopefully in process, the expectation is the focus that this will be a deep enough restructuring to allow for a big bounce back in growth. We know that policy is aimed at twisting private sector activity, greater predictability in transparency. We know that social spending is being re-fenced but there must be a need to cut back elsewhere, especially as debt service payments resume so Zambia is in a good place,” Ms. Khan said.
Ms. Khan also said Zambia’s currency has performed better against the United States dollar in comparison with other countries in the region.
She, however, said the country has an accumulation of large amounts of foreign portfolio investment in the Zambian economy.
“Zambia’s level of foreign ownership is so high, it now pretty much equates to the country’s foreign exchange reserves,” Ms. Khan said.
The Standard Chartered Head of Research for Africa and the Middle East commended government for putting measures in place to attract mining investment in the 2023 National Budget.
Speaking at the same event, Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Board Chairperson Caleb Fundanga said Zambia remains a big market for the financial institution.
Dr. Fundanga said the bank has continued to invest in various sectors in Zambia owing to the confidence it has attached to the economy.And Dr. Fundanga defended the bank’s move to close several branches in the country saying this is in a bid to fully embrace digitalisation.
“We are encouraging Zambians, financial entrepreneurs to take up the challenge and start offering our services on their own little platforms and this is part of creating jobs and opportunities in the financial sector,” he said.