LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Political tension could distract Zambia’s plans to access an aid package from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF), international rating agency Fitch Ratings
said on Tuesday.
acknowledging that the key rating drivers for Zambia remains fiscal and external
deficits and their effect on public sector debt, Fitch said the key risk
stemming from the current political tension if it escalated could jeopardize an
IMF aid package as well as other lender’s willingness to provide the southern
African nation with external financing, a statement posted on its website said.
It added that
progress towards an IMF program has remained slow and may be delayed further by
domestic political events, adding that expectation of an IMF program was key to
Zambia’s B/negative sovereign rating.
witnessed political tension emanating from last year’s disputed elections. The
tension has worsened following the arrest of the country’s leading opposition
figure Hakainde Hichilema who was arrested in April and is facing treason
On July 4,
President Edgar Lungu invoked Article 31 of the country’s constitution which
gives security wings enhanced security measures to deal with a spate of fires
and damage to other public properties witnessed in the country.
The move was
approved by parliament and has since been extended for three months.
IMF’s recent mission to Zambia last month, the two parties agreed on the
remaining actions needed to reach staff-level agreement and a request to the IMF
Executive Board could be made next month if the two sides could reach
the Zambian leader said the IMF could go if they were not happy with his
decision to invoke Article 31 which resulted in the declaration of a state of
threatened public emergency.
were backed by Minister of National Development Planning Lucky Mulusa who said
Zambia was not desperate for an IMF aid package.
have raised suspicion on the current talks with the IMF, with critics asking the
government to come clean on what was happening.
the IMF began last year as the southern African nation’s economy crumbled due to
falling copper prices and a large fiscal deficit.
program is expected to help support the balance of payments, provide a policy
anchor for fiscal and economic reforms and unlock additional sources of external
financing from multilateral and bilateral lenders.
Morocco to open embassy in Zambia this year
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Morocco intends to open an embassy in Zambia in September in order to enhance
relations between the two countries, a visiting official said on Tuesday.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mounia Boucetta said the embassy will in
the interim be headed by a charge d’affaires,
minister said when he paid a courtesy call on her Zambian counterpart Harry
Kalaba that there was need for the two countries to have an action plan for the
successful implementation of 19 bilateral agreements signed between the two
countries when Moroccan King Muhammed VI visited Zambia in February this year.
she said, ushered in a new era in the relationship between the two countries,
adding that the 19 agreements will boost ties.
her, the two countries share a common vision and desire to establish peace,
stability and respect for the sovereignty of each country in Africa.
On his part,
the Zambian minister said the establishment of the embassy will enhance the
country’s continental integration.
minister is here for the review of the 19 agreements in order for the two
countries to come up with specific activities to ensure the objectives of the
agreements were achieved.
she held a meeting with agriculture minister Dora Siliya where they discussed
specific areas of cooperation in the agriculture sector.
Cheeky monkey plunges Zambia’s tourist capital
into power outage
LUSAKA Zambia(Xinhua) -- A
cheeky monkey has plunged Zambia’s southern city of Livingstone into total
darkness after tampering with an electricity transformer, the country’s power
utility company said Sunday.
occurred on Sunday morning when the monkey interfered with the high-voltage
transformer, leaving about 50,000 users in the tourist capital and some parts of
Western Zambia without electricity, the country’s largest power company Zesco
the company were on the ground working to correct the damage, said the state
broadcaster Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
survived the electric shock because of its highly insulated palms and has been
rescued from the power transformer by officials from Zambia’s Department of
National Parks and Wildlife.