Zambia blames creditors after Africa’s first pandemic-era default

Elvera Bartels

Zambia’s finance minister said lenders were at the very least partly to blame for the state defaulting on one of its eurobonds previous week, although a group of bondholders said the skipped payment risked setting a extra adversarial backdrop for credit card debt negotiations.

The southern African nation became the continent’s 1st pandemic-period sovereign default, following holders of the credit card debt refused to grant it a 6-thirty day period desire payment freeze on Friday.

The bondholders demanded extra details on Zambia’s debts to Chinese loan companies, but would not signal the important confidentiality agreements, Bwalya Ng’andu said.

Zambia skipped a $42.5m (£32.3m) desire payment on $1bn value of eurobonds maturing in 2024. The default was unavoidable since the state, which experienced acquired some credit card debt aid from the China Advancement Bank, experienced to address all lenders equally and experienced by now built up arrears on other financial loans, Mr Ng’andu said.

The country’s $1bn in eurobonds, because of 2024, fell 1.8pc to forty four cents on the greenback in London. The non-payment has brought on cross-default provisions in all the superb greenback bonds.

The bondholders committee, whose fifteen users depict in combination extra than 40pc of Zambia’s $3bn in superb Eurobonds, said on Monday that buyers experienced been unable to consent to a credit card debt standstill since they by no means acquired details they wanted for an educated conclusion.

That incorporates facts on Zambia’s “policy trajectory” and fiscal framework, and transparency on how the government intends to offer with other lenders.

There experienced been no immediate discussions concerning bondholders and the authorities to date, the committee said.

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