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IMF projects economic improvement

International Monetary Fund says the country’s economic growth is expected to improve slightly to 3.5 percent in 2017.

The Fund said sustaining the high inclusive growth in the future requires sound policies and reforms to improve competitiveness.

IMF team welcomed the government’s fiscal consolidation plans which aim at putting public finances on a sustainable path following their recent visit.

“We have had fruitful discussions with the Zambian authorities and made progress towards reaching understandings on an economic program that could be supported by an IMF arrangement.

There is broad agreement on key objectives, targets, and policies, most of which are drawn from the government’s economic program,” said IMF team led by Tsidi Tsikata.

IMF however said further engagement is needed on details of measures and reforms to achieve fiscal consolidation targets while protecting social spending and clearing the large stock of arrears without accumulating new ones.

“We have agreed to continue discussions at the forthcoming Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington D.C. next month.”

The mission held wide-ranging discussions with a broad range of stakeholders, topics included Zambia’s experience under past IMF-supported programs, reforming the subsidies in the energy and agriculture sectors, and policies needed to diversify Zambia’s exports, create jobs and make the economy more resilient to shocks

“The mission projects real GDP growth in Zambia to improve slightly from about 3 percent last year to 3.5 percent this year, reflecting good rains which are expected to boost agricultural output and domestic electricity generation.

Over the medium term, realization of Zambia’s enormous potential for achieving and sustaining high inclusive growth will depend on the continuous implementation of sound economic policies, and on reforms to boost productivity across sectors and enhance Zambia’s international competitiveness.”

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