Lungu To Diversify Zambian Economy, Focus On Agriculture

lungu, zambian economy, agriculture, Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu, has decided to diversify the nation’s economy by focusing on unlocking the agriculture potentials of tropical Zambia, while reducing its dependence on copper mining.

The president expressed this after being sworn in for a new five-year term.

Although Zambia’s economy has been hard hit by depressed copper prices, diversifying into agriculture still presents a number of difficulties.

Reports say the agriculture sector is one that still needs a lot of development.

This is owing to the fact that it is focused on staple maize and is mostly produced by subsistence farmers who lack the capital and technology to lift yields.

The future of the copper industry in Zambia was thrown into doubt in January 2002, when investors in Zambia’s largest copper mine announced their intention to withdraw their investment.

However, surging copper prices between 2004 and 2016, rapidly rekindled international interest in Zambia’s copper sector.

Prospects for resuming critical budget support talks with the International Monetary Fund have however been delayed, due to the swearing in of a new head of state.

Presidential Election Holds In Zambia

Zambia
Zambians queue to cast their ballots for the Zambian Presidential elections at Kanyama primary in Lusaka on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Voting began on Tuesday for the next president of Zambia, one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets, in what shaped up as a tight race between a populist lawyer and a wealthy economist.

Edgar Lungu, leader of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is seen having a slight edge over main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman whose United Party for National Development (UPND) has won over the middle-class and investors.

The two candidates had promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the country.

The winner would serve out the remaining 18 months of Michael Sata’s term as Zambia is due to hold a general election in 2016.

Former President, Michael Sata, passed away in October 2014 and Vice President Guy Scott became acting President of Zambia.

Observers have said that the election has been largely peaceful.

Counting of the ballots would begin shortly after polls close with results due to be announced within 48 hours.

Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo. Its mining sector had experienced a boom in recent years with the economy averaging a 6 to 7 percent growth.

It however slowed to to 5.5 percent in 2014 from being one of the world’s best performing economies.