| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Zambia debt relief pledge clears way for $1.4 billion program, says IMF

On Saturday, Zambia’s creditors promised to pursue a debt restructure, paving the door for a $1.4 billion Fund program, according to IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva.

In a statement published by G20 chair Indonesia, the creditor committee stated it welcomed Zambia’s “envisaged IMF higher loan tranche program and its quick ratification by the IMF Executive Board.”

Zambia becomes the first African country to default in the epidemic era in 2020. Many experts regard the restructuring of its foreign debt, which totaled more than $17 billion by the end of 2021, as a test case.

In December, Zambia secured a staff-level agreement with the IMF on a $1.4 billion three-year extended loan facility, contingent on its capacity to decrease debt to levels deemed sustainable by the Fund.

Zambia’s government applauded the creditors’ promise and the reactivation of IMF assistance.

On Friday, the finance ministry said it was cancelling $2 billion in undisbursed loans.

Zambia’s creditor committee stated that the restructuring conditions will be finalized in a memorandum of understanding, but no other information were provided.

It also urged private creditors to “commit immediately” to discussing debt reduction on at least as favorable conditions.

The World Bank’s president, David Malpass, reiterated such sentiments, saying, “I urge official bilateral and private sector creditors to participate on equal conditions, providing Zambia a considerable net-present-value debt reduction.”

  • Reuters