International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva concluded her January 22-24 visit to Zambia with a statement on the country’s economic situation, praising the nation’s “enormous potential” given its natural resources and young population.
“I came out of these interactions hugely impressed by Zambia’s enormous potential given its rich endowment of natural resources, and a dynamic and entrepreneurial young population,” said Georgieva. “Zambia is making tremendous progress on reforms, at what is a particularly challenging time for the world economy.”
During her visit, Georgieva met with President Hichilema, Minister of Finance and National Planning Musokotwane, and Central Bank Governor Kalyala, as well as students, civil society, and members of the private sector.
In her statement, Georgieva commended the government’s efforts to improve the use of public resources by redirecting funding from poorly targeted and inefficient spending to education and health. “I want to especially highlight Zambia’s efforts to improve the use of public resources by reallocating resources from poorly targeted and inefficient spending and redirecting them to much-needed spending on education and health, a critical investment in Zambia’s most precious resource—its people,” she said.
She also praised the government’s attempts to increase transparency and combat corruption, noting that these steps are vital for protecting public resources for the benefit of all Zambians and creating a better environment for investors and businesses.
However, Georgieva emphasized the need for swift resolution of Zambia’s debt situation in order to preserve positive growth momentum and complement the nation’s reform efforts. “Zambia also needs swift resolution of its debt situation to complement these reform efforts and preserve the positive growth momentum,” she said. “We recognize that these are complex and challenging discussions, but it is clear from my visit that Zambia is doing its part, so I strongly encourage creditors to move forward and reach an agreement on a debt treatment as soon as possible. That would ensure we can move forward with the first review of the Fund-supported economic program and resolve a key source of uncertainty weighing on the outlook.”
Overall, Georgieva expressed optimism about Zambia’s future and the potential for the nation to achieve a more resilient and inclusive future through continued economic reform and debt resolution.