Zambia’s president calls for quick restructuring of debt

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema on Monday called on the country’s creditors to ensure a quick restructuring of its external debt.

Getting it done by the first quarter of 2023 will make sure “we do not reverse the gains made so far in reconstructing our economy,” Hichilema told Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the capital Lusaka.

Zambia’s mounting external debt amounted to $13.4 billion at the end of 2022, with more than half owed to China, according to latest figures from the country’s Finance Ministry.

It defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2020, a year before Hichilema came to power.

“We are aware that our creditors had a meeting last Thursday and we are hoping that something favorable can come out of that engagement to get us going,” said Hichilema.

Georgieva, who is in the country at the same time as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, assured Hichilema of the IMF’s full support.

“The fund is pleased with the Zambian government’s resolve to consolidate social sector spending to avoid any leakages, as well as steps to diversify the economy to take advantage of sectors such as agriculture,” she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency