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Vol 56 No 21

Published 23rd October 2015


Wing and a prayer economics

Battered by rising debt and deficits as copper mines close, the government searches desperately for alternatives

Despite looming elections, a sliding copper price, critical power shortages, the world's worst performing currency and record borrowing costs, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has described his goal of almost halving the budget deficit by next year as 'reasonable'. He vowed in his budget on 9 October to cut the deficit to 3.8% of gross domestic product, despite plans to spend 14% more in the lead-up to next year's elections. Economic growth would recover from 4.6% this year to 5% next year, he said, and tax revenue would jump by 20%. Ratings agency Fitch, which has a B rating on Zambia's debt, forecast that the deficit would be more than 6% next year.

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