Lusaka – Zambia’s plan to restructure its crushing debt load is likely to go before the board of the International Monetary Fund by September for potential approval, a senior IMF official said on Wednesday.
“We are motivated that creditors are getting together,” the IMF’s deputy managing director, Antoinette Monsio Sayeh, said after talks with the government.
“Creditors will now deliberate and come to a closure.
“It should be anticipated that by early September we should be getting to the board of the IMF,” she added.
Talks between Zambia and its creditors are due to begin on Thursday in Paris. Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said they should be concluded by July or August.
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“(The) IMF has been helping us, and the good news is all the major creditors are on board to start the discussions,” said the minister.
“This brings us closer to the IMF programme.”
Past governments failed to secure bailouts in tough talks with creditors and in 2020, Zambia became Africa’s first country to default during the Covid pandemic.
But since President Hakainde Hichilema was elected last year, the country has made progress in restoring relations with donors.
In December Zambia won a $1.4-billion bailout from the IMF after it set down a budget aimed at restoring financial stability. It is seeking a broader meeting with creditors to unlock the funds and restructure its $17.3-billion debt burden.
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