New leader pledges to stabilise Zambia’s shaky finances

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New leader pledges to stabilise Zambia’s shaky finances

Amid high unemployment and surging inflation, new administration hopes IMF loan will kick-start economic recovery

Taonga Clifford Mitimingi and Matthew Hill

Zambia’s new president Hakainde Hichilema pledged to rein in public debt and the budget deficit, while restoring the nation’s credibility after a default on its foreign loans. 

“Our focus over the next five years will be on restoring macroeconomic stability,” Hichilema said in his inauguration address in Lusaka on Tuesday. “We will grow our economy, so we can lift more people out of poverty than ever before.”

The entrepreneur and cattle rancher, who turned to politics in 2006, takes over an economy buckling under record levels of external debt, that led to Zambia becoming Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign defaulter in November. GDP shrank 3% last year, the inflation rate is almost 25% and youth unemployment is rampant in a nation where the median age is less than 18 years...

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