Zambia's currency, the kwacha, has managed to recoup some the losses it suffered last year because of weak copper prices, but is coming under pressure again after a credit downgrade. Grace Pascoe reports.
2015 was a bad year for Zambia's kwacha. Weak copper prices sent the currency sliding. An electricity shortage in the southern African nation did not help. But 2016 is looking up. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SERA CHIWALA, LUSAKA RESIDENT, SAYING: "It hasn't appreciated that much for people to get so excited about it, but for the business world, I think it is because at least we can see that the kwacha is appreciating." The kwacha's recouped some of its losses Helped by the Bank of Zambia. It raised interest rates to 15.5 percent in November to curb inflationary pressures. That won praise from the President But now Zambia's credit rating has been downgraded, putting pressure back on the currency. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SITUMBEKO MUSOKOTWANE, FORMER MINISTER OF FINANCE SAYING: "There is nothing that I see or nothing that I have heard that would make me believe that this is going to be a sustained exchange rate, because we are still importing more than we are exporting. I don't see money coming into the country right now when everyone is waiting for the elections." CUT HERE MAYBE to decide what will happen after the elections." But some investment may be not be far away. Glencore is planning to spend $1.1 billion on three new copper mine shafts even though commodity prices remain low.