Zambian President Hichilema’s government is trying to rework as much as $17bn in external public debt. He needs the IMF’s endorsement to advance talks with creditors ranging from holders of $3bn in Eurobonds to $5.8bn owed to China. Finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane plans to conclude negotiations by the middle of 2022. The country became Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign defaulter last year, and hasn’t serviced most dollar debt since.
The currency of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer has also been buoyed by near-record prices for the metal, which makes up more than 70% of export earnings and helped boost the 2021 trade surplus to 73.4-billion kwacha ($4.4bn) through November, compared with 41.8-billion kwacha a year earlier.
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