Statement by IMF Executive Directors at the Conclusion of their Visit to Zambia

Press Release No. 08/35
February 28, 2008

A mission of Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) comprising Messrs. Huayong Ge, Ambroise Fayolle, Peter Gakunu, Aleksei Mozhin, Jonathan Fried, Age F.P. Bakker, and Ms. Miranda Xafa, issued the following statement on February 25, 2008 in Lusaka at the conclusion of its visit to Zambia:

"We thank President Mwanawasa, Minister Magande, and Governor Fundanga for their warm hospitality during our visit to Zambia. This visit has provided us with the opportunity to meet with the Government and a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives of the private sector, civil society, and development partners in addition to government officials. We discussed recent economic developments in Zambia as well as the challenges Zambia faces in its efforts to enhance growth and reduce poverty.

"We are encouraged by the authorities' efforts to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the current global economic environment, in particular, the buoyant commodity prices and the debt write-off, which has helped Zambia to achieve macroeconomic stability and sustained high economic performance. We commend their commitment to consolidate the pace of development. The private sector is the engine of economic growth and development in a liberalized economy and its role is critical in realizing the objective of sustaining growth, reducing poverty and fighting corruption. We note and encourage the government's efforts to fight corruption and improve public resource mobilization.

"We acknowledge that despite the impressive economic performance and positive medium-term outlook, challenges and risks remain. It will be important to accelerate the reform process in key areas. The Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability reform program, the review of the tax system, the Financial Sector Development Plan, and the Private Sector Development Initiative will be key in achieving development objectives. Further efforts to deepen the financial sector reforms and lower intermediation costs, and continued commitment to an open trade regime to accelerate export development, are crucial to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"We reaffirm the IMF's commitment to continuing the excellent relationship with Zambia and supporting the authorities' efforts to enhance growth and reduce poverty. In that regard, an IMF staff mission is currently discussing with the authorities a new program that could be supported by the Fund, and will share its conclusions with the public at the end of its visit."



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