The World Bank has said Zambia’s economic prospects for 2012 are positive due to high levels of copper production and major improvements in the agriculture sector.
The Bank’s country director, Kundhavi Kadiresan said the global lending institution expected the Government to continue with sound macro-economic policies that would help contain inflation levels to a sigle digit.
Ms Kadiresan, who hailed Zambia’s economic performance in 2011, said the outlook was good and prospects also remained bright for 2012, which would be driven by high levels of copper production and improvements in agriculture.
However, the World Bank said Zambia’s economic outlook was vulnerable and heavily affected by external shocks in the form of high oil and low copper prices on the international commodity markets.
In response to a Press query, Ms Kadiresan said despite the economy being vulnerable, the prospects for 2012 remained favourable, with copper production and agriculture expected to post strong growth this year.
Commenting on the rebasing of the kwacha, Ms Kadiresan said the Government should be cautious in the way it introduces the new currency in the economy.
She said sufficient technical preparation and education should be undertaken. She, however, observed that rebasing of the Kwacha would simplify accounting and payments systems and processes.
“The World Bank‘s view is that rebasing of the kwacha will simplify accounting and payments systems and processes.
“However, it should be introduced with sufficient technical preparation after educating the public extensively,” Ms Kadiresan said.
The global lending institution also noted that Zambia’s economic performance should be judged in terms of improvements in the living conditions of the ordinary people.
Ms Kadiresan said in the long term, the performance of Zambia’s economy should be looked at in terms of improvements in the living standards of the average citizen. This would only happen if growth came from increased incomes of the poor, accompanied by more jobs for the local people./TIMES