A typical Zambian copper
mine – a view of the
concentrator in the
dry ore section at
Chibuluma South
 
Maputo, Mozambique — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 May 2008 – Higher copper exports are likely to help the Zambian economy to expand by 7% this year and by up to 10% in 2010.

This was the prediction of Zambian Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the African Development Bank annual meeting in the Mozambican capital.

“We hope that we can manage 7% in 2008, but definitely next year we should be looking at a better number," he said. “In three years’ time – when I anticipate that we will be exporting 1 million tonnes of copper – we should definitely be looking to run at around 10%,” he added.

Magande revealed that Zambia’s first credit rating should be finalised by the end of 2008, as the southern African country was currently evaluating bids for the transaction advisor. But he insisted that Zambia would not issue any bonds because it had enough liquidity.

“After our debt of US$7 billion (R53 billion) was written off in the last two years, we think we have enough revenues for whatever we want to do.”

Magande was upbeat about the nation’s ability to rein in inflation below double digits, saying if it could control food and imports, half the battle was won.

“If we control these two items we feel inflation should still be hovering around single digits, although last month it went to 10.2%,” he pointed out.

Magande said food contributed 57% to the country’s consumer price index. He added that Zambia, where about two-thirds of the population live on less than $1 a day, was not affected by the a global food price crisis, and even had enough food for exports.