Janet Yellen calls for debt renegotiations between Zambia and China


U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on the second leg of an African tour aimed at promoting American investment and ties, said on Monday it’s crucial to immediately address Zambia’s heavy debt burden with China.

Ms. Yellen was in Lusaka, a capital city that’s visibly dominated by Chinese financing. Visitors to Lusaka arriving at the renovated Kenneth Kaunda International Airport see a facility expanded in 2015 with Chinese money. A ride into the city passes billboards and newly built firms bearing Chinese signage, more evidence of Beijing’s influence and increasing competition with the United States.

But the growth that the country has experienced has come with a heavier debt burden. Zambia became Africa’s first coronavirus pandemic-era sovereign nation to default when it failed to make a $42.5 million bond payment in November 2020. Negotiations over how to deal with the debt load have been ongoing.



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