Zambia has accrued substantial debts over the past decade, with little to show in terms of national development and economic improvement, Joseph Kalimbwe has told RT © RT / RT

Zambia has little to show for the huge international debt it has accrued over the past decade and remains one of the most indebted nations in Africa, Joseph Kalimbwe, a Zambian politician and activist, has said in an exclusive interview with RT. Zambia ranks with Angola and war-torn Sudan in terms of debt, much of which has had little impact on national development or economic improvement, according to Kalimbwe.

In November 2020, Zambia became the first African nation to default on Eurobond payments, during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, Zambia obtained a $1.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which necessitated restructuring its debt with other creditors. On Tuesday, Zambia’s Ministry of Finance announced that over 90% of the holders of $3 billion worth of the country’s international bonds have agreed to a restructuring plan, which is set to resolve a prolonged default.

Much of the country’s debt, particularly from China, was borrowed during the tenure of previous governments, leaving the current regime grappling with repayment challenges, Kalimbwe noted.

He also criticized the country’s dependency on international organizations for funding, which often comes with stringent conditions and high interest rates. It happens “across the entire African continent where we [Africans] keep on borrowing and we fail to pay back,” he added.

Majority of people in African state threatened by hunger Majority of people in African state threatened by hunger

The activist proposed that “the best solution could be for developing nations to be able to resolve issues amicably and to ensure that we don’t go into a situation where we keep on borrowing and we fail to pay back that which we borrowed.”

Lubinda Haabazoka, Director of the University of Zambia Graduate School of Business and former President of the Economics Association of Zambia, echoed Kalimbwe’s sentiments.

He believes that the international monetary system and the World Bank are to blame for a lack of infrastructure in the country “because they normally drive the economic development agenda for developing nations.”

The country’s new restructuring strategy involves bondholders exchanging three current bonds set to mature in 2022, 2024, and 2027, for two amortizing bonds.