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With an IMF Deal in the Bag, the Big Question is How Will Hichilema Handle Zambia’s Chinese Debts?

Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema presents his national statement as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. ANDY BUCHANAN / POOL / AFP

Zambian President Haikainde Hichilema (photo) got the news he was hoping for on Friday when the International Monetary Fund announced that it had granted preliminary approval for a $1.4 billion, three-year credit facility to the economically beleaguered country.

President Hichilema’s government has said repeatedly that securing an IMF deal like this is critical to give Lusaka the needed financial breathing room in order to proceed with the rest of the country’s $27 billion of debt, more than half of which is owed to foreign creditors.

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