The United States Treasury Undersecretary, Jay Shambaugh, has praised the Zambia Economic Team, led by Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, for their successful efforts in positively re-aligning the Zambian economy.
During a public forum, Dr. Shambaugh, who heads Treasury’s International Affairs, expressed admiration for the Zambian Ministry of Finance Team’s exemplary leadership in managing the economy and achieving a debt restructuring deal with external creditors. He acknowledged the high debt burden’s impact on Zambia’s economic growth prospects and commended the team’s focus and discipline in addressing the challenges.
“As part of the team that visited Zambia with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, I am highly impressed with the high levels of focus by the Zambian economic team on helping stabilize the economy,” said Dr. Shambaugh.
He also lauded the Zambian private sector for its commitment to participating in economic programs. Dr. Shambaugh believes that with the achieved debt restructuring deal, the private sector will respond favorably to opportunities that arise.
“In many countries where we asked about problems the private sector was facing, the response was overwhelmingly apportioning blame for economic problems to the government. It was different in Zambia. The private sector believed high debt levels were the problem, and they all believed restructured debt would unlock the economy,” he explained.
Looking ahead, Dr. Shambaugh emphasized the importance of generating job opportunities for Zambia’s young population. He highlighted that Zambia, like much of Africa, is endowed with a sizable youth demographic that needs to be central to economic policy decisions. The U.S. Treasury Undersecretary expressed confidence in Zambia’s economic prospects and its ability to create jobs for the youth.
Dr. Shambaugh expressed optimism that Zambia’s current economic trajectory could serve as an example for other countries in the region facing debt challenges. He believes that the positive developments in Zambia will inspire similar strategies in neighboring nations.
Ambassador Chibamba Kanyama expressed gratitude to the U.S. Government and the Treasury department for their support in negotiating the debt restructuring deal.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane was recently honored with the prestigious FIN Best of Africa Outstanding Minister Award during the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) / Forbes (Best of Africa) Conference held in July.
The commendation from the U.S. Treasury Undersecretary adds to the growing recognition of Zambia’s efforts in stabilizing its economy and creating opportunities for its youth population.