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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Bank of America Merrill Lynch raises concerns about Zambia’s Debt

Economy Bank of America Merrill Lynch raises concerns about Zambia's Debt

The true size of Zambia’s debt is “debatable” because the country has contracted more loans than official external debt numbers show, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said.

While the nation signed up for $5.3 billion in debt from 2015 to 2016 and the lender estimates it contracted another $4.4 billion last year, official external debt only grew $1 billion over the period, analysts Rukayat Yusuf and Andrew Macfarlane said in an emailed note on Thursday.

“Although the true size of Zambia’s debt stock is debatable, there is no doubt that debt service costs have accelerated. We expect debt service costs will continue to rise.”

Zambia faces a heavy repayment schedule with lump sums due in 2022, 2024 and 2027, Yusuf and Macfarlane said.

Even so “we do not expect any near-term defaults given the restructuring of Chinese loans and official concessions,” they said.


  1. No date when this statement was issued? Was this before or after the statement by the finance minister? LT please be helpful to your readers.

    • LT readership is gaining traction and improving exponentially.

      Having said this, like any other organisation increasing its services or products… LT need to train its reporting staff to remain relevant. This is not an attack on LT but a check to ask them train their reporters. I personally read the LT and I do not bother any other online news. LT risks people like me moving away to other competitors, having said this, am conscious that we are dealing with Zambians here who do not get advise but rather have a slow jog trot to the grave.

    • LT is not a media house but a website where one or two fellows copy news from other sources and paste it on their website and you start reading them. It’s garbage in garbage out system. Dont blame them.

    • The mere fact that we have to borrow in order to survive should be a source of concern. And yet, that appears to be a least of our concerns, as long as we can find another bank to lean us more money. We have been along this path before. We ended-up falling over a precipice. One would have thought we learnt our lesson. We never did. We are back at it again, looking for more money to borrow. We consider anyone telling us anything to the contrary to be a member of the Opposition, a political enemy.

    • It was only yesterday when some of us were being sneered for standing up in opposition to what madam Mwanakatwe was telling the nation.

    • “The country has contracted more loans than official external debt numbers show.” Isn’t that the reality? Is this not the truth? Why don’t you tell us the truth? Why would you rather lie to us?

    • Definition of national debt is not so lay. The accountant Mutati waffled with the figures which were beyond his depth. Maggie the banker is upto to the task. A good deal of Govt Debt is contingent and debt still under the grace period is sterile until the servicing starts. Govts are smart to strike this balance.

      Rather bang heads on what the debt is, focus should be on the debt contraction strategy coz debt can’t be hidden since the shylocks always make everyone know when you are not paying like they did to Super Ken. Zambia is far from this situation since the debt contraction strategy has been good with a lot of deferred and contingent liabilities and smart investment in infrastructure to spur the current economic growth.

  2. Oh dear, this news again. Anyway, I hope clarity and glasnost
    emerges after this. It would help to state the loans and where they were applied. Maggie Mwanakatwe is up to the task.

  3. Madam Mwanakatwe, yesterday you told us that “Zambia is not hiding any debt.” How true is that?

  4. The media have to ask the right questions to get the answers they are looking for and it should be demonstrated in their reporting that they sought answers and explanations from relevant officials and that the officials were given sufficient time to answer. So far only perceptions are being reported. Is that good enough to crucify anyone? The purpose of this exchange is to find common ground, to learn from one another and not to insult those who may disagree.

  5. They call it Off-Balance Sheet Financing, the kind that doesn’t show on the books. As long as we are dealing with PF’s lying tongue, we shall never get to know the truth. Time and again, this PF government has demonstrated ability to line-up as many as four hundred and fifty false prophets, every single one of them telling us the same lie, in hope we shall eventually accept it as gospel truth.

  6. How unfortunate that some of these bespectacled PF false prophets go as far as wearing horns in order to impress us with their authority and mastery of the subject matter! Is it not true, however, that they do so in an effort to deceive the gullible? They are wolves in sheep clothing, there only to kill and steal.

  7. I feel sorry for us all poor Zambians. The Zambian’s “Zambia shall be saved” prophet had gone politic.Who shall intercede for us?I should advise all Zambians of goodwill to fast and stand in the gap against vultures as Queen Esther did or else we are doomed as miseries after miseries will be our lot. May our Creator who gave us this land of plenty have pity.

  8. Any normal Zambian would be concerned about this silly way of thinking, by the few in government, that it is the country Zambia, and not their names, whose name is being tarnished through contraction of very unnecessary loans.
    80% of those loans have ended up in Government Officials’ and Civil Servants’ pockets. Only 20% is spent on the so called ‘Government Contracts’ resulting in those shoddy works, like the Kawambwa, Mbereshi Road.
    It is a BIG shame on this PF/mmd led government of criminals.
    That constitution will be amended properly to NAIL down Criminals once Zambia gets a responsible government.
    This PF/mmd led coalition is up to no good for the country Zambia and Her people.
    The time to account is surely coming. I rest my case.

  9. like a pregnancy; this young Mwanakatwe lady will not hide the true debt forever;i don’t buy into PF lies;

  10. PF are piling up debt at the expense of UPND – the next government. I feel for the next government. The debt burden may cause them to fail to take off and deliver on election promises.

    PF promised 500,000 jobs within three months. PF is now almost seven years in political power and yet the number of jobs they took over from MMD are reducing every month. What a political promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!Politicians should not be allowed to make economic promises.

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