Zambian officials concealed total debt owed to China; actual figure almost double the official amount

A new investigation into Zambia’s debt to China revealed that, the Edgar Lungu administration deceived the public about the true debt owed to China. The report stated specifically that, the previous government “was not transparent about the heavy weight of Chinese financiers among its many external creditors”.

According to data by the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI), the $3.4 billion as initially reported by the authorities of the Southern African country was false. Currently, Zambia owes $6.6 billion which is almost double the reported official figure.

The research by CARI showed that, the Copper-Rich country actually owed a total of $7.77 billion from the year 2000 to 2021. However, the country has managed to pay $1.2 billion. In addition to loans from other lenders, Zambia’s national debt now stands at $14.3 billion.

This new revelation has exposed China’s new approach to beat the widespread agitation by concerned Africans about the continent’s rising debt load. Recall that, EyeGambia earlier reported that, Zambia’s previous Minister for finance under Lungu’s regime, Bwalya Ng’andu stated that, China has demanded that issues relating to loans and other relations be kept highly confidential without any disclosure.

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“The position of the Chinese banks is you’re not going to give anybody any information;” he said as Zambia’s attempt to strike a debt restructuring agreement with major lenders failed due to its secrecy about the country’s relation with China.

Consequently, other African countries may equally be piling huge Chinese loans under the guise of this confidentiality arrangement.

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