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GDP growth will remain near multi-year lows this
year at 3.3%, albeit up slightly from an estimated 3.1% in 2016, as the impact
of fiscal consolidation weighs on activity, while the large power and transport
infrastructural shortfall will impede private sector consumption and investment.
However, loosening of monetary policy and improved kwacha stability will
support a modest improvement in domestic demand. The agricultural sector is
poised to recover this year on the back of improved rainfall, shrugging off
challenges including pest infestation, delayed disbursement of government input
support and localised flooding. Confidence will also be helped by the conclusion
of negotiations with the IMF for technical and financial support totalling some
US$1.3bn, expected by mid-year.
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