Zambia says it owed Chinese creditors $ 5.75 billion in June

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Giving a breakdown of China’s debt, Nalumango said $ 4.27 billion was owed by the central government, $ 1.34 billion by state-owned enterprises through government-guaranteed facilities and $ 0.14 billion through facilities not guaranteed by the government.

The total of $ 5.75 billion represents nearly 40% of Zambia’s total state-guaranteed and unsecured external debt, which the vice president has estimated at $ 14.67 billion.

Last November, Zambia – Africa’s second-largest copper producer – became the first country on the continent to default on its sovereign debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund and hopes to secure a loan program to anchor debt restructuring.

Nalumango said the restructuring will be done transparently, without favoritism. In addition to Chinese entities, Zambia’s external creditors include Eurobond holders, who are owed $ 3 billion, as well as multilateral lending agencies.

The vice president said the outstanding debt would be periodically audited and such an audit is currently underway.

When asked if the previous government underestimated the country’s debt, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane told parliament loans amounting to $ 4.4 billion had been signed but not yet disbursed. .

He said that the administration of President Hakainde Hichilema, who took office in August, wanted these loans to be canceled or reduced, without specifying who they were contracted with.

(Written by Alexander Winning, edited by Alex Richardson and Steve Orlofsky)

By Chris Mfula


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