Zambia’s President Lungu Meets IMF Africa Head

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday met with the Africa head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Abebe Aemro Selassie.

Though no official statement on the meeting has been released, the office of the Zambian President released a photo showing Mr Lungu and Selassie.

The meeting comes after Zambia, the world’s second-largest copper exporter, became the first African country during the coronavirus pandemic to default on its debt repayments.

A default makes it harder for the country to borrow more funds.

On 22 September, Zambia asked its private creditors to defer payment of interest until April. This deferral, which represents a sum of $120m, concerns three bond issues totalling $3bn issued in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

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In October, it missed repayment of $40m to IMF- the country was given a month’s grace period but failed to come up with the money.

Coronavirus has aggravated pre-existing financial pressures in Zambia.

Last month, the IMF said it was in talks with the Zambian authorities about how best to support the country, but its help would depend on the country taking steps to make sure its debt was sustainable.

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