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Unlike Many Other African Currencies, the Zambian Kwacha Had a Great 2021, Buoyed by Hope for a Debt Deal

While currencies like the Kenyan shilling and the Nigerian naira lost value in 2021, the Zambian kwacha enters the new year with some serious momentum. The kwacha surged 27% last year, mostly on the hope that President Hakainde Hichilema will turn around the economy and restructure the country’s huge $17 billion debt — almost a third of which is owed to Chinese creditors.

Beyond a $1.4 billion IMF deal, President Hichilema has yet to provide details on how he plans to do to reach a settlement with creditors. Meanwhile, the strong kwacha and high copper prices are buying him a bit more time to reach a deal. (BLOOMBERG)

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