Zambia Debt Relief to Mix Haircuts, Maturity Extensions - Finance Minister Official

Zambia's debt restructuring will be a mixture of haircuts to loans' original value and maturity extensions, a senior Zambian finance ministry official said Thursday, after the Fund approved a $1.3 billion program for the southern African country, Reuters reported. Negotiations with creditors to restructure debt that reached $17 billion at the end of 2021 are starting now, Mukuli Chikuba, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, said at a joint Zambian government and IMF news conference in Zambia's capital Lusaka. The IMF Executive Board approval, a crucial step in the southern African country's quest to restructure its debts and rebuild an economy ravaged by mismanagement and COVID-19, would unlock an immediate disbursement of about $185 million, the Fund said on Wednesday. Zambia became the first African country to default in the pandemic era in 2020, struggling with debt that reached 120% of its gross domestic product. "The choice between haircuts and stretching the repayment a matter of negotiations. And that negotiation will reflect the preference of the particular creditor," said Zambia's finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane. Read more.