Zambia Sovereign Rating same with Kenya, Ghana

Zambia obtained a credit rating from Fitch Ratings as it plans to sell its first dollar-denominated bonds this year.

The southern African nation was rated B+ by Fitch, its fourth-highest non-investment grade rating, with a “stable” outlook, the company said in a statement Wedensday. Zambia’s rating is the same as that for Ghana, Kenya and Angola and one step above Lebanon’s.

The rating reflects “the marked improvement in Zambia’s economic performance since 2003, driven by improved macroeconomic stability, economic liberalization, rising private investment and production in the mining sector, and more recently, a strong agricultural performance,” Veronica Kalema, a director in Fitch’s sovereign group, said in the statement.

Zambia is making final preparations for the sale of Eurobonds, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said on Dec. 15, without saying how much it planned to raise. The country postponed in 2008 a plan to seek a credit rating and sell its first global bond of $1 billion because of the global financial crisis.

The nation’s economy expanded about 7.1 percent in 2010 from 6.4 percent in 2009, driven by increased mining output, transport, communication, construction and agriculture, the Central Statistics Office said on Dec. 30. Zambia’s gross domestic product growth after inflation has averaged 6.3 percent since 2006, Fitch said.


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