WORLD BANK SAYS ZAMBIAN ECONOMY LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED BY WEAK DEMAND FOR COPPER

LUSAKA, April 8– The World Bank has observed that Zambia’s economy is likely to be affected if the demand for copper by China remains weak.

This is because Zambia largely depends on copper as its main traditional export and China currently accounts for 45 per cent of total copper demand.

The World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region, Francisco Ferreira, has called on the Zambian government to increase investments in rural areas as a means of closing the gap between development in rural and urban areas.

Speaking during a video conference to launch the bank’s Pulse Africa semi-annual analysis of Africa’s economic prospects Monday, he said that infrastructure development like huge airports in the cities were meaningless if real Africans in rural areas had no access to development.

He said the government should invest more in roads to open up smallholder farmers to markets.

Ferreira also noted that currency depreciation in countries like Zambia had led to pressure on prices of goods.

He, however, said the bank has projected economic growth for sub-Saharan Africa to be at 5.2 per cent in 2014 from last year’s 4.7 per cent.

Ferreira has attributes this to rising investments in natural resources and infrastructure, and strong household spending.

World Bank Lead Economist for the Africa Region Punam Chuhan-Pole stressed the need for the continent to consider looking at the services industry as an avenue for investments.

Early this year, zambian President Michael Sata said the government would continue to foster a stable macro-economic environment, which would be reflected in low and stable inflation and a competitive exchange rate as well as prudent fiscal management.

SOURCE: ZNBC

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