Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema is confident of clinching a long-awaited debt restructuring deal with official creditors in the coming days, suggesting it could be announced this week in Paris together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese Premier Li Qiang.
“It was agreed that the three of us must stand side-to-side in the next two days,” Hichilema told reporters on Wednesday in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. “You can interpret what that means.”
Earlier, he’d said a deal could be on the near-term horizon. Zambia has been a test case for the Group of 20’s Common Framework for debt restructuring that incorporates traditional lenders from the Paris Club with new ones like China and bondholders, and an agreement could clear the path for others, Hichilema said.
“The framework we will agree — hopefully we should agree — in the next few days then can be rolled out to assist other countries,” he said. “We had to carry the can so that we can reduce the pain for others.”
Hichilema is due to travel to France to attend Macron’s two-day Summit for a New Global Financing Pact that starts Thursday. China and France co-chaired Zambia’s official creditor committee.