U.S. Embassy and WECREATE Host Third Economic Panel Discussion

LUSAKA, Zambia — In coordination with Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment in Zambia (WECREATE Zambia), the Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Zambia was pleased to hold our third panel discussion on Zambia’s economy, with this session focusing on the financial sector. The discussion was part of a series of panel discussions that the U.S. Embassy and the WECREATE Zambia Center are holding to support Zambia’s economic growth and prosperity. The panel discussion took place on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the U.S. Embassy.

The event featured presentations from an esteemed panel of leaders on the challenges and potential for economic development in Zambia. Panelists included U.S. Ambassador Eric Schultz, former Vice President Guy Scott, Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Dr. Bwalya Ngandu, Kukula Capital Managing Director Tue Nyboe Anderson, and Stanbic Managing Director Charles Mudiwa.

During his remarks, U.S. Ambassador Schultz said the purpose of the economic policy discussions was to think of what policy changes Zambia could consider in the light of the downturn in global commodity prices, which had worsened the country’s trade and budget deficits and led to a drop in GDP growth.

He told the audience that one of the central financial questions to consider was what could be done to enable the organic, free flow of capital, which would allow Zambians borrow at reasonable rates.

The Ambassador recognized that fundamental reforms could be very difficult in an election year, but that this was the time to think about what changes should occur once the elections were over.

“Our hope is that these panel discussions, which we intend to continue, can lay the groundwork and build consensus for needed reforms. In the end Zambia will have to reduce government spending and to spend more efficiently,” Ambassador Schultz said, adding that many countries went through lean periods where they reduced benefits, subsidies, and other service while the country was growing, and then resumed those benefits once the country became wealthier.

For its part, the U.S. government has worked hard to encourage investor interest in Zambia –including through programs like the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the new Power Africa initiative. These programs would not be able to flourish without a credible environment to foster them, Ambassador Schultz said.

For more information, please contact U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer at +260-211-357000.