LUSAKA -The International Monetary Fund has projected that Zambia’s economic growth will fall to 2,9 percent next year from the 3,1 targeted for this year.

In its annual World Economic Report released on Tuesday at the ongoing Springs Meetings in Washington DC, the Fund also sees higher inflation above 10 percent by the end of 2019.

It projects that inflation will jump to 12 percent in 2020 after closing at 10,7 percent this year.

The IMF says the global economy is slowing more than expected and a sharp downturn could require world leaders to coordinate stimulus measures.

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The report pointed to the US-China trade war and a potentially disorderly British exit from the European Union as key risks and warned that chances of further cuts to the outlook were high.

Some major economies, including China and Germany, might need to take short-term actions, the IMF said.

“This is a delicate moment for the global economy,” IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said at a news conference to discuss the report.

Governments may need to open their pocketbooks at the same time “across economies” if the slowdown becomes more serious, Gopinath said, adding that loose monetary policy might also be needed.

The comments provided an eerie warning to the global officials gathering in Washington this week for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. The world engaged in coordinated fiscal stimulus to counter the 2008 financial crisis.

The Zambian delegation is led by Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe who started off her busy schedule on Tuesday in Washington D.C with a meeting with the World Bank Country Team for Zambia.

“Just finished a great meeting with the World Bank Country Director for Zambia, Paul Noumba Um, and his team. We were looking at various issues related to cooperation between the two development partners. Away from the meeting, I found it extremely interesting that the World Bank in Washington has moved from serving water in plastic bottles in its meetings to serving it in bio-degradable packages. Zambian manufacturers, what are you waiting for?”

“The initiative by the authorities here in DC reminds me of home in Zambia where plastic carrier bags are no longer given freely in supermarkets or elsewhere. For my friends the youth and women, the measure serves as a business opportunity to begin selling reed baskets and the like. Go for it my people!”

Mwanakatwe said that she will also take the opportunity of being in Washington to honour invitations by the international community to address elite investors’ and business forums separately organized by Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for investors from the Asia, Canada, Europe, Middle-East, and the United States of America.

“I am also scheduled to attend the launch of the IMF Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, and will be joined at the event by my counterpart Minister of National Development Planning, Alexander Chiteme, who is expected to arrive in Washington later today,” she wrote.

“I addressed my delegation this morning and urged the team to be at their best and to represent the country well. I requested all of them to endeavour to send messages that are consistent with the country’s positive ambitions and aspirations aimed at making Zambia a prosperous middle income nation where no one will be left behind.

The members of my high-level delegation include the Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet [Finance and Economic Development] Christopher Mvunga, and Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya.

The others are Ministry of Development Planning Permanent Secretary Chola Chabala, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance Mukuli Chikuba, Zambia Revenue Authority Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda, and Zambia Integrated Forestry Landscape Project Coordinator, Tasila Banda.

“While in Washington, DC, my delegation will attend and participate in events, meetings, seminars and sessions of both the International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank Group (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – IBRD, International Development Association – IDA, International Finance Corporation – IFC, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency – MIGA.”

“We will also attend the International Monetary and Financial Committee [IMFC]; the highest ranking organ of the IMF, which comprises the IMF Board of Governors [Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Bank from 189 member states] and the Executive Board of the Fund. My team will also attend the IMF Africa Group 1 Constituency Meeting and the African Consultative Group (ACG) Meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Meetings with the Director of the IMF Africa Department, Abebe Selassie, and the IMF Executive Director for Zambia Dumisani Mahlinza are also planned, at which discussions are expected to focus on developments in the economy and the upcoming Article IV Consultation Mission to Zambia,” Mwanakatwe wrote.

The delegation’s engagements will extend to dialogues with Fitch, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s Rating Agencies. At these meetings, the parties will be looking at Zambia’s macroeconomic situation, fiscal affairs, debt matters, and foreign reserves, among other issues. Lusaka Times