US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated restructuring Zambia’s debt is a pinnacle precedence throughout her go to to the debt-ridden African nation on Monday.
In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Africa, Zambia grew to be the primary nation on the continent to default on its overseas debt, estimated at $17.3 billion.
It has sought assist by means of a G20 mechanism, however implementation has been gradual, with the us accusing China – the principle creditor of many African nations – of dragging its toes.
“I believe that the proper completion of the debt settlement for Zambia is a top priority for the Treasury Department,” Yellen stated when she met Zambia’s Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane in Lusaka.
“We will continue to push for all critical bilateral and private creditors to meaningfully participate in debt relief for Zambia, especially China.”
Yellen additionally met with President Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman-turned-politician who took electricity in 2021 on guarantees to revive the financial system.
“It is our view that prompt and comprehensive debt processing can serve the interests of both debtors and creditors,” she advised the president.
Hichilema stated he hoped the debt restructuring may be accomplished throughout the subsequent few months.
“Zambia has a deadline. We believe it should be resolved by March. As long as we do not resolve this issue, it will distort the gains we have made so far,” he stated.
The President earlier met with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva who praised the authorities’s reforms and prudent use of public funds.
Last yr, the IMF accredited a $1.3 billion mortgage to assist Zambia restore fiscal stability.