Editor's Comment

Let’s maintain economic growth

THE revelation by Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda that Zambia’s economy has remained strong this year is good news.
It reflects the confidence investors have continued to show in the country and the government’s prudent management of the country’s economy.
We are happy to learn from Mr Chikwanda that preliminary real gross domestic product (GDP) is at six percent.
This, the minister explained on Tuesday, makes Zambia the seventh fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa and the 10th in the world.
Economic stability is important if the country is to achieve key Millennium Development Goals on poverty and hunger.
The news has allayed fears that the country might experience a slow-down in the economy as a result of events in the political and social landscape.
Some sections of our society had predicted that the nation would fail to record the kind of economic growth it has achieved in the last six years.
But the economy has proved to be resilient, heading for a six percent GDP growth by end of year.
Mr Chikwanda has attributed the economy’s strong performance to agriculture, manufacturing, construction, energy, transport, communication and financial sectors.
We are hopeful that the continued strong performance of the economy will trickle down to ordinary citizens.
With the current infrastructure development projects under way, and increased investment in various sectors, we are confident that the nation will manage to scale down the levels of poverty.
One of the pressing challenges the nation has been grappling with is youth unemployment.
Young people account for at least 68 percent of the nation’s population, currently standing at about 14 million.
If they are unable to access the basic necessities of life because they are unemployed, then their capacity to contribute to the development of the country is seriously hampered.
But with the various empowerment programmes the government has introduced such as the Youth Development Fund (YDF), we are confident that the levels of unemployment will come down.
We are happy that the year 2015 is also promising some real improvement.
Mr Chikwanda disclosed that between 2015 and 2017 GDP growth is expected to increase to an average of seven percent.
The key sectors of the economy are expected to continue performing well.
This is because of continued growth in agriculture, production, electricity generation, construction, transport and communication.
These sectors have continued attracting significant investments from the government and its co-operating partners.
We are also confident that mining, which has been Zambia’s ‘bread-winner’ sector, will rise above the operational challenges that are currently besetting it.
While the other sectors are providing a welcome alternative source of revenue, mining remains the backbone of the economy.
More efforts are needed to ensure stability and more investment in this strategic sector.
We are, however, happy to learn through Mr Chikwanda that Zambia has this year enjoyed a steady flow of foreign direct investment.
This is evidence of investor confidence, and everything should be done to maintain it.
As the nation implements its Vision 2030 and the national budget for 2015, it is important for all stakeholders to play their respective roles towards the achievement of higher GDP growth.
We should convince the investors that our country is a lucrative and safe investment destination.

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