Zambia’s economy to shrink 4.2% in 2020: Finance Minister

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Zambia expects its gross domestic product to shrink by around 4.2% in 2020, more than the 2.6% contraction forecast by the central bank in May, finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu said on Wednesday.

Sectors including mining, energy, construction, manufacturing, tourism, trade and transport were all expected to record poor performances due to COVID-19, Ng’andu said.

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Zambia had estimated a growth of at least 3% this year, Ng’andu said.

A decline in revenues and the increase in expenditures would create a financing gap of 26.9 billion kwacha ($1.48 billion) and expenditure cuts will have to be introduced, Ng’andu said.

The number of coronavirus cases in Zambia, with a population of more than 18 million, stood at 1,895 including 42 deaths as on July 7, when the government gave its last official update.