Spring Meetings insightful – Mwanakatwe

FINANCE minister Margaret Mwanakatwe says the just ended Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington DC were very insightful. According to ministry spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, Mwanakatwe has described the meetings as a success. She said the meetings with the IMF, the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, African Development Bank, the Trade and Development Bank and other development partners were “very insightful and further strengthened the country’s cooperation with both multilateral and bilateral partners.”

The minister said Zambia’s multisectoral investor forums held on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings were the “icing on the cake” as they gave her delegation the hope of tangible investments in energy development, technological and industrial development, agriculture, education, health, and social investment. But a busy schedule upon arrival in Lusaka awaits Mwanakatwe among which is a meeting with an IMF Mission Team for Article IV consultations. The current discussions are known as “Article IV Consultations” because they are a statutory requirement under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement.

After the engagements with different stakeholders in Zambia, the IMF team will report its findings to IMF management and to the Executive Board, an organ which represents all the IMF member countries. In a few days, the Zambian government and the World Bank country office are also scheduled to launch the recently approved Country Partnership Framework. During bilateral discussions with the Trade and Development Bank, it was also confirmed that Zambia will host the Bank’s 35th anniversary commemoration and Annual General Meeting in August this year in Lusaka.

And Mwanakatwe said following her delegation’s investor relations programmes, a consortium of American investors has submitted a proposal for the creation of a Southern African Regional Hub for Technology to be located in Lusaka. The statement indicates that the technology park, a mixed-use work-live facility, will consist of a large-scale data centre, a business incubation hub for small and medium enterprises, two international standard hotels, a regional conference centre for technology, residential housing and office blocks. The technology park would also host international standard facilities for block-chain technology, financial technology, education technology and a campus for advanced academic interaction for top local, regional, and international universities.

It states that at full-scale, the hub would create over 5,000 jobs.

“The Zambian government will do its best to ensure that all requirements are put in place so that the proposal becomes reality and construction commences as soon as possible,” Mwanakatwe said.

She said the technology park would avail opportunities for the much-needed technological creativity and upgrades in some Zambian industries.

“Our citizens, especially the youth, need jobs, so we cannot wait for long for the proposal from the Americans to be actualised,” said Mwanakatwe.

On departure she was seen off at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC, by Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States Dr Ngosa Simbyakula. Mwanakatwe was accompanied by National Development Planning minister Alexander Chiteme, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Finance and Economic Development) Christopher Mvunga, finance permanent secretary for economic management Mukuli Chikuba, national development planning permanent secretary Chola Chabala and Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya.

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