Zambia’s current account surplus is projected to expand slightly to 3.8 percent in 2023 from 3.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022.
The World Bank’s October 2023 Africa Pulse Report released last week made this projection for Zambia.
This projection was based on improved copper production supported by new investment and the expected resolution of operational challenges at two notable mines.
“While many metal and mineral exporting countries experienced double-digit current account deficits in 2023, a few of these countries, including Zambia and Botswana, recorded current account surpluses,” according to the report.
According to the report, metal and mineral exporters in the sub-Saharan region slightly reduced their current account deficits to 7.2 percent in 2023 from 7.3 percent of GDP in 2022.
It established that metal and mining exports were unable to offset the increase in the import bill due to still high food and fuel prices, and to structural investments in other countries.
“An improvement in global economic activity and lower energy prices will support metal and mineral prices: the (median) current account deficit in metal and mineral exporters in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to narrow gradually to 5.3 percent of GDP in 2024 and 4.4 percent in 2025.
“Three mineral and metal exporting countries posted double-digit current account deficits, namely, Liberia (22.5 percent of GDP), Niger (12.7percent of GDP), and Mauritania (11.9 percent of GDP),” the report stated.
Liberia was expected to record the widest current account deficit in the region in 2023, with export receipts (particularly from gold and rubber) offset by increased capital goods imports associated with the ArcelorMittal project and rising food imports (due to lower global prices).
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