Zambia’s economic growth slumped to 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year, down from 3.2 per cent during the corresponding period last year, mainly driven by negative growth rates in the agriculture and transport sectors, CSO data reveals.

Although Central Statistical Office (CSO) data points out that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) hit an estimated K61.1 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared to K54.4 billion during the corresponding period in 2017, year-on-year growth rates have slumped to 2.6 per cent, compared to 3.2 per cent over the corresponding period.

This means that Zambia’s economic growth rate of 2.6 per cent during the quarter under review has been the lowest since the final quarter of 2015, when growth at 1.8 per cent during that quarter was recorded.

“The year-on-year quarterly growth rates at constant 2010 prices show that the economy grew by 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 3.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2017,” CSO stated in June’s monthly bulletin released, Friday.

“The mining and quarrying industry contributed the highest to the first quarter growth with 1.4 percentage points, followed by the financial & insurance, information & communication and wholesale & retail trade industries with 0.9, 0.6 and 0.4 percentage points, respectively. The industries with the highest growth rates were information and communication (28.1 per cent), financial and insurance (26.6 per cent) and mining & quarrying (14.1 per cent).”

Analysis from the CSO’s National Accounts data reveals that negative growth rates were recorded in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors of -1.9 per cent, while the transportation and storage industries also contributed a negative growth rate of -0.2 per cent to the economy.

GDP is the total value of an economy’s domestic output of goods and services, typically in a fiscal year, and is one of the key indicators of economic growth.