The Bank of Zambia has revealed that preliminary figures show that the Zambian economy grew by 7.3 percent last year, up from 6.8 percent recorded in 2011. Central Bank Governor Michael Gondwe said the Zambian economy has continued to post strong GDP growth rates driven mostly by strong performances in the construction, agriculture, manufacturing and the transport sector. Dr. Gondwe said construction sector was the best performer in 2012 growing by 15.3 percent from 8.9 percent recorded in 2011.
He however said mining and quarrying, the country’s economic mainstay is estimated to have declined by 13.2 percent mainly due to a fall in metal mining. Dr. Gondwe was speaking in Lusaka last evening during the Bank of Zambia quarterly media briefing. And on the economic outlook for the first half of 2013, Dr. Gondwe said Zambia’s economic prospects remains favorable with a projected GDP growth of 7 percent.“We expect good performances in the agricultural, manufacturing and conservation sectors. In this regard, GDP is expected to be in line with the projected annual GDP growth rate of 7 percent,” Dr. Gondwe said.“However, there are challenges to this outlook which include the fiscal cliff in the US yet to be fully resolved, spending cuts by some of the developed economies and a weak consumer and business confidence in most developed economies. Further a fall in the price of copper may reduce export earnings.” Dr. Gondwe observed that although the average commercial bank interest rates have reduced, they still remain high beyond the reach of most SME’s. He urged the commercial banks to lower their interest rates further in line with the Bank of Zambia Policy Rate. Lusakatims.com
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