LUSAKA, Zambia, October 1, 2013. Whilst launching the second edition of the Zambia Economic Brief, titled “Zambia’s Jobs Challenge: Realities on the Ground” the World Bank announced today that the Zambian economy is expected to grow by about 6 percent in 2013 against 7.8 percent projected in the 2013 budget. Agriculture is likely to contract, particularly in maize and cotton. In 2012, the economy had grown at 7.2 percent. Zambian economy has been growing at a decent pace in the past decade, posting a better performance than most of its peers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The growth led by strong performance in mining, manufacturing and services, has also been buoyed by resilient FDI inflows mainly in mining.
Although the medium-term forecast is above 7 percent, it is subject to risks.
“Zambia continues to experience decent economic growth but there are emerging challenges and risks ahead,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan World Bank Country Director for Zambia. “These challenges relate to the country’s capacity to use costly foreign debt in an efficient manner and keeping personnel costs low so that essential expenditures on health and education services for the poor are not crowded out. The copper prices, which have been on a declining trend, could make economic management more difficult.”
The Report, which focusses on jobs, identifies slow growing urban jobs as an increasingly challenging issue given that the labor force is growing at a fast pace. While providing an enabling environment for private sector to create jobs is a top priority, the report makes clear that an equally big development priority is to improve the living standards and earnings of working Zambians by boosting their productivity in agriculture and nonfarm self-employment. The report also identifies improving the overall quality and access to basic education in Zambia as an absolute priority, since basic education forms the foundation on which future skills building rests.
In his launch of the Report, the Vice President of Zambia, Dr. Guy Scott said that a large number of Zambians have taken up employing themselves. They are making furniture and wood and iron products. Many of them are involved in construction activities. Some of them are doing so well that they are providing jobs to others.
“These need to be treated as heroes. Instead of waiting for white collar jobs, they have taken the initiative. We want to be more supportive of such entrepreneurial activities and create an environment where they can flourish,” the Vice President said.