Business 27.7.2016 01:02 pm

Zambia economy jittery as polls draw closer – Central Bank

Bank of Zambia.
Photo: UKZambians

Bank of Zambia. Photo: UKZambians

The central bank chief said Zambia should diversify its exports to improve the subdued economic operating environment.

The Bank of Zambia has revealed that the country’s economy has suffered due to political anxiety and uncertainty as investors ponder the outcome of the August 11 elections.

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the just-ended 23rd meeting of the African Import and Export Bank (AFREXIM) in Mauritius on Tuesday, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Danny Kalyalya said there was hope for post-election improvement due to continued currency stability and positive investor sentiment.

“In any country, when elections are approaching, certain things jump around and the Zambian economy is no exception. But interestingly, we have seen some developments which are encouraging. Yes, investments are not happening as much as they are supposed to, but so far indicators are pointing to the right direction. Zambia is good for business,” Kalyalya said.

The central bank chief said recent developments which proved that investor confidence in the country remained high despite the elections included the recent acquisition of the Lusaka-based Finance Bank by British investor Atlas Mara Group.

He said the country would be able to attract new investment after the elections as inflation had maintained its down-slide trend although it remained in the double digit category. Further Kalyalya said prospects for economic recovery had brightened up on the back of rebounding copper prices.

The central bank chief said Zambia should diversify its exports by promoting value addition and accelerating external trade to improve the subdued economic operating environment, which continued to be characterised by tight liquidity in the financial market.

Zambians will elect a new president, parliament and local authority councillors on August 11. Eight political parties are taking part in the elections although the main contest is expected to take place between the Patriotic Front (PF) of Zambian President Edgar Lungu and the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) led by Hakainde Hichilema.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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