Agreements in sight at Global Finance Summit regarding Zambia and Sri Lanka debts
French Economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that agreements were in sight at the Global Finance Summit in relation to the debt of Zambia and Sri Lanka.
“We are about to reach an agreement” concerning these two countries, he told Radio France Internationale (RFI), calling it “very good news”.
"When you are a country in extreme poverty, when you have a debt load that is too heavy, you must restructure it. So we want to do it, we want to do it with our Chinese partners, and the presence of the Chinese prime minister (Li Qiang) is a decisive gesture of China's desire to participate in these debt restructurings," Le Maire said.
In 2020, Zambia, a major copper-producing country, became the first country on the African continent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to default on its external debt. Its current debt amounts to 18.6 billion dollars.
The US has accused Zambia's biggest creditor, China, of dragging its feet on its restructuring.
Sri Lanka also defaulted on its external debt of 46 billion dollars in April 2022. China is also its main bilateral creditor.
The Paris Club met on Wednesday on the eve of the international summit organised in the French capital. The club is an informal group that consists of creditors, which does not include China as a permanent member and whose role is to solve countries' difficulties in repaying their debt. The summit aims to rethink the global financial system in the face of climate change.
©VAN DER HASSELT / AFP