Zambia has published a full list of its 44 external creditors that shows the central government owes Chinese lenders more than one-third of its total $13.4 billion of foreign-currency debt stock.

The Finance Ministry revealed on Wednesday that Zambia’s total public debt to foreign and local lenders was just shy of $27 billion at the end of June.

The figure was equal to about 115% of GDP, according to the latest World Bank figures from 2019, and could be more because Zambia’s economy contracted sharply last year.

The figures published by the ministry on its website include $16.86 billion in foreign holdings, of which $520 million is interest arrears.

The figures showed that the remaining $10.1 billion was local currency debt.

The list includes more obscure funding sources, such as a $306 million loan from a local furniture supplier called Mikalile Trading Co.

Zambia, which stopped servicing almost all its foreign loans last year, owes about $3 billion to the Export–Import Bank of China, nearly $3.2 billion to Eurobond holders, and hundreds of millions of dollars to commercial lenders from Israel to Johannesburg-based bank Investec Plc.

“In line with its commitment for greater transparency, the Ministry of National Planning and Finance of Zambia has published a detailed summary of debt figures as of end-June 2021,” a statement from the ministry said.

Zambia’s foreign debt is spread across diverse regions, with a %6 billion chunk owed to China and rest owed to various banks, nations and multilateral institutions.

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  1. Borrowing to pocket was PF agenda. A disaster in the making never to be seen again in Zambia. Its also as a result of the so unprecedented development of infrastructure. So ridiculous to say the least. Yes we agree Mikalile supplied goods all over the country especially to schools. They supplied desks, computers laboratory equipment, desks, chairs, and many more. PF government should have paid him a long time ago but they just eat the corruption and never paid anything to Mikalile – a disaster indeed.


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