LUSAKA: Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Lusaka at the conclusion of her January 22-24 visit to Zambia:
“I wish to thank H.E. President Hichilema, Minister of Finance and National Planning Musokotwane, and Central Bank Governor Kalyala for their gracious hospitality and constructive discussions. I also very much appreciated the opportunity to engage with students, civil society, and the private sector. During my meetings, we discussed recent economic developments, progress and next steps in the Government’s reform effort, and views on how we can best partner with Zambia on its’ journey towards a more resilient and inclusive future.
“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. Zambia is making tremendous progress on reforms, at what is a particularly challenging time for the world economy. More, of course, needs to be done, especially to deliver the jobs Zambia’s youth need, but these reforms are critical to strengthen Zambia’s resilience and seize its’ opportunity – especially in the agricultural, energy, and tourism sectors – for climate-resilient, more inclusive, and more vibrant growth.
“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. I also want to commend the government’s efforts to improve transparency and tackle corruption, vital steps to help protect public resources for the benefit of all Zambians and create a better environment for investors and businesses.
“Zambia also needs swift resolution of its debt situation to complement these reform efforts and preserve the positive growth momentum. 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.”