Standard & Poor says Zambia’s economy is stable

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday maintained Zambia’s B+ rating despite a series of controversial political decisions, saying that recent policy changes overall support economic growth.

The agency also kept its outlook at stable, saying current economic policies would be largely maintained, with strong growth in Zambia’s main export copper. Economic growth is seen at five percent this year.

“Although uncoordinated and sometimes contradictory views by cabinet members have increased uncertainty about future economic policies in Zambia, policy changes have so far been mostly measured and supportive of growth and modest debt burdens,” it said.

“The stable outlook reflects our view that changes to economic policies will be measured, and broadly supportive of growth trends and modest debt levels.”

Fitch ratings agency earlier in March downgraded its outlook for Zambia from stable to negative, and cited worries about a move to de-register a major political party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, which lost power in September elections last year.

Since taking office, President Michael Sata has launched a broad anti-corruption drive, which his critics say smacks of score-settling.

He has reversed several privatisation projects, including a telecom deal that is being challenged in court by Libya’s LAP Green.

– Sapa-AFP

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