Zambia is suffering a severe hangover from its decade long commodity boom, as mounting debt and energy shortages are crippling the once vibrant economy. Zambia has seen a decrease in GDP growth from an average of 7.4% from 2004-2014 to barely 3% for 2016. This figure is only slightly above population growth. When annual inflation is added – which despite having decreased from 22.9% in January to only 8.8% in November – it reveals that the livelihoods of Zambians are actually regressing. This slowdown has affected the government’s bottom line, as Zambia’s national debt continues to pile up.
Details of the Zambian Government’s 2017 budget have recently emerged with the Minister of Finance stating that “turning the economy around requires that we make hard choices and implement difficult reforms”.