Visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva has praised Zambia for the progress it has made in implementing the economic reforms aimed at restructuring and reconstruction of the country’s economy.
Ms Georgieva says the Zambian government has in the last one year shown commitment towards building a vibrant and strong economy which is key in any restructuring programme.
“I wish to state that I am impressed with the progress that you have recorded in building economic reforms, as you may be aware that reforms are important because they make the economy more vibrant and stronger for the benefit of the citizens,” she said.
ZANIS reports that Ms Georgieva was speaking at the state house in Lusaka today when she called on President Hakainde Hichilema.
She explained that her organization is committed to supporting Zambia to accelerate its economy and generate more growth due its enormous potential to attract more economic development.
She added that it is gratifying to see that Zambia has put in place measures aimed at addressing high levels of debt by coming up with a sustainable restructuring programme.
Ms Georgieva explained that this is why the IMF will partner with Zambia to help actualize most of its economic reforms, noting that Zambia’s development is a development of all the African countries.
“We heard that Zambia had a big mountain of debt that your government is addressing decisively, I order to accelerate economic growth, this is why we are keenly interested to step up efforts with Zambia by partnering in striving to achieve this, because we know that what is good for Zambia is good for Africa,” she stated.
And Ms Georgieva has welcomed Zambia’s request to be considered for the Resilient Trust Fund, adding that this fund is vital in helping developing countries access resources for investing in key economic sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture and other climate resilient industries.
“Resilient Trust Fund is an important invention by the IMF, where we are using lending from well to do members to support climate resilient growth in our developing countries, this is good as it is long term concession lending to beneficial investment”.
With the continued global economic challenges such the covid-19 pandemic and the tension between Russia and Ukraine, Ms Georgieva has called on countries to put up strong economic fundamentals that will be resilient to the shocks.
And President Hakainde Hichilema has called on the IMF to expedite the process and conclude Zambia’s debt restructuring programme under the common framework.
President Hichilema expressed concern that the delays in concluding the process will negatively affect the economic gains and stability efforts that Zambia’s has so far attained.
He hoped that the conclusion on the restructuring programme with the official debt creditors and IMF would be done within the first quarter of 2023 if the country is to continue attracting more investment, improve trade and create more employment opportunities for the country.
“The next phase of our programme will be affected by these continued global economic challenges including the fact that we have this debt which if not responded to, may respond to by concluding the process soon is going to distort all the good efforts that we have being making to reconstruct the economy which will bring in investment, trade to create jobs opportunities for our people.
President Hichilema however, added that Zambia is hopeful following the recently held debt restructuring programme with the official creditors committee that a conclusion will soon be reached on the content that will help the country in its economic restructuring agenda.
The Head of State further assured that Zambia will do everything possible to ensure that it attains all the set out agenda on economic transformation such as ensuring that there is good governance, respect for the rule of law as well as intensifying the fight against corruption.
“As Zambia will do whatever is required to address these issues so that we continue our journey towards economic reforms through good governance. And the fight against corruption is going forward. Actually it is what has brought us where we are because the appetite to borrow was driven by the corruption agenda” he noted.
President Hichilema further thanked the IMF for continued support to Zambia, by underscoring the importance that the Organisation has placed on Zambia.
And President Hichilema has encouraged citizens to understand the role of the IMF, noting that it’s not a foreign entity, but it is an Organisation that is owned by the people and Zambia is a member, and its mandate is to work towards improving their welfare through support programmes.
Ms Georgieva is in Zambia for a two days visit, where she is expected to hold meetings with different stakeholders such as the Ministry of Finance, central bank, and other key economic players in the financial sector.