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Zambia's future uncertain

Latest update : 2008-08-20

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa's died at age of 59 in a French hospital on Tuesday, leaving vice-president Rupiah Banda as his successor. New elections should be help in the next three months.

LUSAKA - Zambia will maintain its prudent macroeconomic policies following the death of the country’s President Levy Mwanawasa, Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande said on Tuesday.

Mwanawasa, 59, who was well-respected among donors for policies that have helped boost growth and for clamping down on corruption, died in a French hospital after suffering a stroke in June.

”It’s indeed a tragedy because he was a good captain, but I am sure another captain will be found to steer the ship,” Magande told Reuters.

”The good thing is that he taught all of us how to govern this country with integrity.”

Zambia’s economy has averaged 5 percent growth over the last six years and the inflation rate declined to single digits in 2006 for the first time in over three decades, although it has accelerated recently on higher global fuel and food prices.

Zambia did not need political changes and would focus on boosting economic growth, he said.

”We have never had it this way since we gained independence and nothing will really change, everything looks positive,” Magande said.

Zambia’s kwacha currency fell as much as 3 percent on news of Mwanawasa’s death.
 
The International Monetary Fund and other Western donors extended billions of dollarsindebt relief to Zambia after Mwanawasa curbed government spending and launched the biggest anti-corruption drive since independence from Britain in 1964.
 
”We will surely find someone wearing the same team shirt and macroeconomic policy will continue the same way,” Magande said. ”Economic transformation will continue so we can sustain our political and economic gains.”

 

Date created : 2008-08-19

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