Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

Zambia’s finance minister says China has shown “optimism” in negotiations to ease the country’s debt, a day after US treasury secretary said Beijing was a barrier to ending the crisis.

The country is straining under an immense debt burden and became Africa’s first nation to default on its debts during the pandemic, when it failed to make a payment in 2020.

Talks to try to ease Zambia’s debt have been dragging on – with China being blamed by some.

But Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, soon after meeting Secretary Janet Yellen in the capital, Lusaka, told the BBC’s Newsday programme that he was encouraged by the last meeting with the creditors:

Quote Message: I don’t want to accuse anyone… but there is an internationally constituted common framework which governs how countries should be able to access debt relief.

I don’t want to accuse anyone… but there is an internationally constituted common framework which governs how countries should be able to access debt relief.

Quote Message: What encourages me is that from the last meeting of the official creditors, there seems to be optimism – including the Chinese.”

What encourages me is that from the last meeting of the official creditors, there seems to be optimism – including the Chinese.”

He added that talks on restructuring the debt could be completed by the end of March.

By Joy

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