Africa-Press – Malawi. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema who was elected a year ago has already taken Zambians to Canaan as the economy has rebounded, with the Kwacha gaining strength and fuel prices falling.
The Zambian Kwacha was the worst performing currency in the world in 2021 but under Hichilema, the Kwacha has gained strength against the United States Dollar from K22.59 in July 2021 to K16.11 as of August 2022. (Zambian Kwacha 1 equals 65 Malawi Kwacha).
Hichilema’s administration has also reduced inflation from 25.6 percent in August last year to 9.7 percent in July this year. Yesterday, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) reduced the prices of petroleum products by K1.65/litre for petrol, K1.75/litre for diesel and K1.72/litre for paraffin.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a US$1.3 billion program for Zambia. Writing on his Facebook Page, Hichilema said the approval is a vote of confidence in the Government and the people of Zambia.
“The international community has recognized the progress we have made, and our commitment to reviving our economy and becoming a responsible member of the family of nations,” he wrote this morning.
He added that the program means jobs and a more affordable cost of living for Zambians as well enhanced development prospects for the country. “To the people of Zambia, we say ‘Thank you’ for believing in us and for the collective hard work and sacrifices made in achieving this milestone.
“It is now time to get back to work. There is still more to be done,” Hichilema said.
The apparent progress in Zambia is in contrast to Malawi where the government is still struggling to secure a program with the IMF amid the international body’s concerns with Malawi’s levels of debt and failure to address allegations of falsification of economic figures.
In May, the government devalued the Malawi Kwacha in a bid to resolve forex scarcity but this has worsened the economic situation for Malawians as companies continue to raise prices of goods.
“Dear Zambians… i envy you! Africa envy you!! You so lucky,” said one Malawian commenting on Hichilema’s Facebook post.