Zambian Economy May Grow 8% in 2014, Commerce Minister Says

Zambia’s economy may grow 8 percent in 2014 as Africa’s biggest copper producer benefits from expanding mining and agricultural production, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Robert Sichinga said.

“Our target is 8 percent for 2014,” he said in an interview at the Zambia International Investment Forum in the southwestern city of Livingstone.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda on Oct. 12 forecast expansion of more than 7 percent next year, while the International Monetary Fund said Nov. 5 it expects growth of about 7.3 percent in 2012. The economy may grow slightly less than 8 percent in 2013, Sichinga said in a Nov. 30 interview.

Zambia, ranked 166 out of 187 in the United Nations Human Development Index, is planning to boost growth to create employment and lift its population out of poverty. The country has a 14 percent unemployment rate, the state-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corp. reported July 9, citing Chikwanda.

The government plans to create 1 million jobs over the next five years, mainly in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. Economic growth may be “just below” 8 percent in 2013, Sichinga said.

“The budget for next year is talking about a slightly lower figure,” he said. “We are hoping that we can exceed that, that is what we are pushing for.”

The southern African nation is targeting $5 billion in foreign direct investment pledges this year and more than that in 2013, having secured $4.2 billion in 2011, Sichinga said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at mhill58@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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