IMF says corruption has inflated costs of high-profile projects in Zambia

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LUSAKA – The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that corruption had inflated the cost of numerous high-profile tenders and construction projects in Zambia.

“Enormous financial resources invested in infrastructure projects, such as road construction, provided avenues for corruption, especially in the award of tenders, where political connections allowed members of the elite to bend the rules and access to lucrative contracts,” the IMF said in a report.

It added that corruption increased from 2009 to 2021 and “became particularly entrenched and institutionalized during 2016-2021.”

The current President, Hakainde Hichilema, was elected in August 2021, after defeating then-incumbent President Edgar Lungu.

Hichilema has pledged to tackle corruption and secured a $1.3 billion support programme from the IMF in August 2022 to help it restructure debts that the government said stood at $14.87 billion at the end of June 2022.