Lusaka, July 15: Zambia's President Edgar Lungu has fired Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, a statement from the presidency said Monday, as the economy grows at its slowest rate in 20 years.
Mwanakatwe, 57, was appointed only last year but was removed on Sunday without any reason given and replaced by central bank deputy governor Bwalya Ng'andu.
"I hereby terminate your appointment as minister of finance," Lungu stated in his letter to Mwanakatwe according to the statement.
Ng'andu was sworn in on Monday, in a move welcomed by international investment markets with Zambia's Eurobonds rising sharply. The price of its $750 million of securities due in September 2022 rose 5.2 percent on Monday, according to Bloomberg News.
Zambia has struggled with falling prices of copper, its key export, and disputes with mining companies, with its foreign exchange reserves plunging and debt rising. Lungu on Monday called for Zambians to "work as a team and stabilise the economy."
But main opposition party UPND spokesman Charles Kakoma told AFP that Lungu's government wasted money and a "cosmetic change" of ministers would not improve the economy.