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Vol 60 No 2

Published 25th January 2019


Debt and discontent

The economy and the popularity of President Lungu are shrinking fast, but the opposition is struggling to take advantage

With no prospect of a deal with the International Monetary Fund, the stand-off with donors over embezzled aid money far from resolved, ballooning domestic arrears, and low foreign reserves, the government's funding crisis is likely to deepen in 2019. President Edgar Lungu seems resolved not to take any of the multitude of measures that could provide much-needed relief, such as bringing a firm halt to new borrowing. If he did, it would be a step towards a funded programme with the IMF, which in turn would likely trigger financial support from other international financial institutions and donors. The government seems instead wedded to new loans for overpriced, non-priority projects, such as the new Gulfstream G650 business jet destined to transport Lungu in luxury.

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