The World Bank has approved $275 million in aid to debt-ridden Zambia to help it recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and spillover effects of the Ukraine-Russia war.
“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.
In 2020 Zambia became the first African country during the Covid-19 era to default on its foreign debt — estimated at $17.3 billion.
When President Hakainde Hichilema took over the country in historic elections last year, he promised to restore Zambia’s credibility and creditworthiness after inheriting an economy strapped for cash and crippled by debt.
The copper-rich nation in early September scored a $1.3-billion International Monetary Fund loan to restore fiscal stability.
Last month, Hichilema told parliament that things were starting to look up for the “broken economy” of the southern African country.
He said Zambia’s economy is expected to bounce back and reach four-percent growth in the medium term, after having contracted by 2.8 percent in 2020 — the first pandemic year.