By Tuesday Bwalya-
It is shocking to note that learned people like Prof. Oliver Sasa can deny the naked truth from Patriotic Front (PF) leader Mr. Michael Sata that the Zambian Kwacha is the weakest currency in Southern Africa. I wonder if the learned professor did research before issuing a statement against Mr. Sata or was just making a political rhetoric. The fact is that the Kwacha is the weakest currency in the region and it is among the weakest currencies on the continent of Africa. The Zambian currency cannot even be compared to the Somali Shilling, a currency for a war ravaged Somalia, country without a functional government for nearly two decades.
We appreciate the fact that the strength of the currency does not always imply that the economy of a country is strong because in some countries such as Malawi, government through the central bank determine the exchange rate. In Zambia the exchange rate is determined by the market forces of supply and demand. The fact however remains that the Kwacha is the weakest currency in the region.
The table below shows Southern countries and some East African countries and their current exchange rates to 1 United States Dollar as of December 29th 2009.
COUNTRY NAME OF CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATE TO US $1
Zambia Zambian Kwacha (ZMK) 4690
Botswana Botswana Pula(BWP) 6.7357
South Africa South Africa Rand(SAR) 7.5093
Lesotho Lesotho loti ( LSL) 7.51
Swaziland Swaziland Lilangeni (SZL) 7.509
Namibia Namibian Dollar (NAD) 7.6145
Malawi Malawi Kwacha( MWK) 144.75
Mozambique Mozambique meticais (MZN) 30.4350
Tanzania Tanzanian Shilling(TZS) 1328.5
Somali Somali Shilling(SOS) 1475
Source: Yahoo currency Converter and XE-universal currency converter
Note: The Zimbabwean dollar is not represented in the table above because Zimbabwe is currently using the US dollar, RAND and PULA as legal tender.
The learned professor’s argument that a weaker currency is good for a country which is export oriented, I wonder if Zambia exports more. As much as we export a lot of copper, the fact remains that we do import more than we export.
The problem Zambia faces is cheap politics. We tend to politicize everything at the expense of development. We go very far even to twist facts to suit our selfish interest. This is not good for Zambia. We all need development, therefore, let us be above petty politics. The suffering masses need development and rely on us enlightened people to lead the way to development. God help Zambia.