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Zambia Expecting Substantial Growth

FILE: Then-President-elect Hakainde Hichilema (C) waves to supporters after a press briefing at his residence in Lusaka, Zambia. Taken 8.16.2021

The Zambian government expects its economy to grow at 4% per year in the medium term and is focused on resolving the country's debt crisis, President Hakainde Hichilema said on Friday.

President Hakainde Hichilema told parliament things were starting to look up for the debt-ridden southern African nation a year after his government came to power having inherited a "broken economy".

"We have put our economy on a positive growth trajectory in the last 12 months," Hichilema told lawmakers at the opening the second session of the National Assembly in Lusaka.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved a $1.3 billion loan to help it restore fiscal stability.

In 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic battered Africa, Zambia became the first country on the continent to default on its foreign debt -- estimated at $17.3 billion.

Hichilema, a businessman turned politician, swept to power on promises to revive the economy, root out graft and woo back scared investors to Africa's second biggest copper producer.

This report was prepared with information from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.