Zambia: Investment pledges rise

By Nawa Mutumweno – Zambia recorded $4 791.6 million ($4.7 billion) investment pledges in 2010 which is expected to create over 22 000 jobs when fully executed, according to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ).

The central bank governor Caleb Fundanga told a press briefing on Friday, February 18, 2011 that last year investment pledges rose by 138% as compared to the $2 008.4 million recorded in 2009.

“The pledges when fully executed are expected to generate 22 532 jobs with the highest contribution from services at 12 763 jobs followed by agro-processing at 5 860 jobs. The rest were manufacturing accounting for 1 882, construction with 847, agriculture 397, tourism 343, real estate 247, ICT 157 and mining 14 jobs,” Dr Fundanga said.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to 7.1% in 2010 from 6.4% in 2009.

The local currency, the Kwacha, had firmly traded against major currencies in the fourth quarter of last year on the backdrop of “consolidation of macroeconomic gains and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market’’ and sustained increase in the international price of copper to an average of $9, 127.4 per tonne.

On the balance of payments (BoP), Zambia recorded a deficit of $71.1 million during the last quarter of 2010 compared to a surplus of $330.2 million recorded in the first quarter of the same year.

“This was largely due to the unfavourable performance in both the current account balance and financial account. During the period under review, the current account surplus declined to $390.6 million from $399.1 million recorded in the previous quarter, largely on account of a decline in the merchandise trade surplus and widening of the net income deficit,” he elaborated.

Trade surplus declined by 9.2% to $771.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, from $849.6 million recorded in the third quarter, following an increase in imports, which outweighed the rise in exports.

Merchandise exports earnings rose by 5.2% compared to the third quarter results, with the increase being attributed to the increase  in metal export earnings which rose by 7.3% to $1 728.5 million from $1 610.2 million in the previous quarter.