The recently published report “African Economic Outlook 2016” by the African Development Bank (AfDB), in conjunction with OECD and UNDP, projects that the Zambian GDP will grow by 3.6% in 2016 and by 4.9% in 2017.
In 2015, the Zambian economy faced economic headwinds due to fast rising expenditures and a fiscal deficit, slowing copper demand from China, low agriculture output, and a growing electricity crisis, the report explains.
Maize output declined by 22% due to poor rains. Copper prices declined by 28% while mining output remained roughly the same as in 2014.
As a result Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is estimated to have slowed to 3.7% from 5.0% in 2014.
For 2016, the report projects moderate economic growth at 3.6%. The agricultural season is expected to slow following El Niño weather effects, and copper prices are expected to remain flat as world copper supply is sufficient to meet global demand.
In addition, the presidential elections planned for 2016 will add pressure to the public spending of Zambia.
However, in 2017 the economy will expand at an increased estimated GDP growth rate of 4.9%, the report concludes.