The World Bank has approved $275 million in aid for debt-ridden Zambia to help it recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and the fallout from the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
“Zambia is in debt distress and needs a deep and comprehensive debt treatment to place public debt on a sustainable path,” the bank said in a statement on Wednesday night.
Zambia became the first African country during the Covid-19 era to default on its $17.3 billion in foreign debt in 2020.
When President Hakainde Hichilema took office in historic elections last year, he promised to restore Zambia’s credibility and creditworthiness after inheriting a cash-strapped and debt-ridden economy.
The copper-rich country received a $1.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in early September to help restore fiscal stability.
Last month, Hichilema told parliament that things were beginning to improve for the country’s “broken economy.”
He predicted that Zambia’s economy would recover and grow by 4% in the medium term, after contracting by 2.8 percent in 2020, the first pandemic year.