During a Symposium on the performance of the 2023 National Budget in Lusaka, Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane shared insights into Zambia’s economic path, expressing optimism about the stabilization of the Kwacha in the coming year. Dr.Musokotwane attributed this positive outlook to the expected inflow of investments into Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and Mopani Copper Mines, signaling a potential boost to the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
According to Dr. Musokotwane, the Kwacha has been under pressure due to a shortage of dollars in circulation. However, the situation is anticipated to improve as new investors inject liquidity into the mining giants. He highlighted that the investor in KCM has already infused $80 million to pay creditors and suppliers, providing much-needed foreign exchange. An additional $50 million is expected in the next week, contributing to the potential stabilization of the Kwacha.
The Finance Minister underscored the importance of collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the broader African continent to advocate for local vaccine manufacturing. He emphasized that this collaborative effort would address the current pressure on the Kwacha and support economic stability.
Dr. Musokotwane also shared that Zambia has received $561 million from the $1.3 billion financial bailout provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This influx of funds has facilitated the acquisition of non-concessional loans from the World Bank, contributing to the country’s economic recovery.
Additionally, Secretary to the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa revealed ongoing negotiations with private creditors and expressed optimism that positive outcomes would be achieved, bringing a favorable outlook to the economy. He highlighted the government’s commitment to debt restructuring, with non-disclosure agreements already signed with most private creditors.
Nkulukusa further disclosed that Zambia’s external debt had increased from $13.9 billion in December 2022 to $14.3 billion as of September 2023, attributing the rise to loans accessed since qualifying for the IMF Financial bailout in August 2023.
Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya provided positive news, stating that Zambia’s international reserves had increased from $3 billion in December 2022 to $3.3 billion in December 2023, sufficient to cover three months of import needs.
The symposium offered a comprehensive overview of Zambia’s economic performance, progress in debt restructuring, and strategic plans for economic recovery, showcasing a resilient approach to the challenges faced by the nation.