ZAMBIA will overcome the current economic challenges it is facing because the challenges are not new to Africa and to Zambia in particular, African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina has said.
Dr Adesina said he was optimistic that Zambia would overcome its current economic challenges especially if it diversifies its economy.
He was speaking when he toured the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) which will host the AfDB’s 2016 annual general conference slated for May 23 to 27.
“I feel optimistic about Zambia because the current challenges are not unique; the bank will support all African countries.
“Africa is not in a crisis and so it has to continue to diversify the economies and ensure stability of microeconomic consolidation because this will build domestic savings,” he said.
Dr Adesina said Government needed to diversify its economy especially the agriculture sector because Zambia played a very critical role in both the COMESA and SADC regions.
He also said the bank would closely work with the Zambian Government and regulatory agencies to improve energy reforms in the sector.
Dr Adesina said the bank was committed to ensuring that it supported the Zambian Government with reforms in the energy sector which he said was critical.
“We will work with the Government and regulatory agencies to improve the management of the utility and committed to the reforms of the energy sector which is critical.
“One of the bank’s biggest priorities is to empower Africa and so we need to unlock all the potential we have, whether it is solar, geothermal or hydro, all the potential have to be unlocked,” he said.
Dr Adesina said the bank’s investment in Zambia had grown to US$900 million with a total number of 19 projects.
Meanwhile, Dr Adesina said he was delighted with the level of works that had been done at the MICC in readiness for the conference.
“The level of commitment and dedication is huge. I am very excited with the level of preparedness going on, it’s still a few months before the meeting but I think it’s going extremely well. It is my first meeting as a president and sure we will make it the best we have ever had,” he said.
He also said Zambia would benefit from the bank’ ‘‘jobs for Africa’s youths’’ programme to be launched soon.
“In terms of jobs for young people, we have a big programme we are developing at the bank called ‘Jobs for Africa’s youths’ so we are developing it and that will be a big programme that we can also launch here with the Government,” he said.
Dr Adesina was accompanied by Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya, officials from the Ministry of Finance and from the AfDB.