WINDHOEK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Namibia's economy growth will slow to 1.6 percent this year from more than 5 percent in 2015 after a contraction in the mining sector and reduced government spending, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.
"Growth is projected to temporarily weaken in 2016 to 1.6 percent as the construction of large mines ends and the government starts consolidating," the lender in a statement at the end of a visit to the southern African nation.
The IMF said growth would then pick up in following years, but warned that Namibia needed to further reduce its budget deficit, saying it saw public debt increasing to above 60 percent by 2021.
Namibia's central bank expects the economy to grow at a slower pace of 2.5 percent in 2016 compared with 5.3 percent last year, due to drought and a contraction in sectors like diamond mining. (Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)