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Kitwe Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Kwacha Appreciation

The Kitwe Chamber of Commerce has expressed its satisfaction with the recent appreciation of the Zambian Kwacha, stating that it will have a positive impact on the cost of importing goods for its members. Chamber President Emmanuel Mbambiko believes that the Kwacha may experience further appreciation if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt restructuring program is successfully implemented.

In an interview with ZANIS in Kitwe, Mbambiko emphasized the importance of a stable exchange rate for effective long-term planning in business operations. He acknowledged that fluctuations in the Kwacha-Dollar exchange rate make it challenging for businesses to plan ahead. However, he expressed optimism that once the IMF funding package is secured and the processes concerning Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines are concluded, the Kwacha will stabilize.

Mbambiko praised the government’s efforts to reduce the cost of doing business, citing the appreciation of the Kwacha and the decrease in fuel prices as positive outcomes. Nevertheless, he cautioned that if the Kwacha exchange rate falls below 16.5, it could have adverse effects on businesses. Expenses such as rentals, labor costs, and fuel remain high and cannot be adjusted downward to match the Kwacha appreciation.

Mbambiko attributed the Kwacha’s recent behavior to speculation surrounding the IMF debt restructuring deal. He stressed the need for the deal to be finalized, as it is expected to contribute to the stabilization of the Kwacha. Additionally, he highlighted the potential impact of resolving the issues surrounding Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines on the exchange rate.

The Chamber President expressed his preference for a Dollar-Kwacha exchange rate ranging between 17 and 18.5, rather than falling below 17, in order to maintain a balance that benefits both businesses and export-oriented enterprises.

The Copperbelt Cross-border and Integrated Business Association also welcomed the appreciation of the Kwacha, as it has reduced the cost of importing goods within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions. The Association’s acting General Secretary, Poster Jumbe, noted that this development would lead to lower prices for imported goods, ultimately benefiting Zambian consumers.

Jumbe emphasized that the appreciation of the Kwacha would boost business activities and contribute to economic growth in the country. He called on the government to take measures to ensure the continued strength of the Kwacha against the US dollar.

In recent days, the Zambian Kwacha has experienced a sharp appreciation against the US dollar, with the exchange rate decreasing from about K20 to around K17. This positive development has been welcomed by various business associations, who see it as an opportunity to lower import costs and reduce prices for consumers.