…I am not sure where this idea that there has not been progress on Zambia over the last six months comes from says International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director for Africa , Abebe Aemro Selassie

By Jeremy Munthali

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says without the Common Framework on Debt Treatment , Zambia and Ghana would not have made progress towards debt sustainability.

According to a transcript of the IMF African Department April 2024 press briefing, IMF African Director for Africa, Abebe Aemro Selassie said debt restructurings are always a very painful exercise both for the debtor countries and creditors that have to take loss.

He said almost always, sovereign debt restructurings take a lot of time.

“I would say that without the Common Framework, we would not have made the progress that we have made in helping countries like Zambia, Ghana’s move towards debt sustainability.

“So that is a really very important thing. Has it worked as efficiently as would be desirable? Perhaps not. But without it, I can tell you that we would be in a much, much more difficult situation,” Mr Selassie said.

He said having the Common Framework has meant that official creditors can come around the table and agree to provide debt relief and ask other creditors to follow suit.

” And I mean, there has been really very, very good progress in the case of Zambia, of course, as you noted, official creditors signed off and the government also just announced a deal with their Eurobond creditors,” Mr Selassie said.

He said with regards to Ghana, discussions are ongoing just a few months after official creditors provided financing assurances.

Mr Selassie said the government is in good faith discussions with their creditors.

“We hope that there will be an outcome. I should add here that the fact that they have not reached agreement with their Eurobond holders will not prevent us from being able to provide more financing, although reaching that agreement is of course important,” Mr Selassie said.

He said the IMF is always fine tuning its policies to ensure that it has the ability to support countries in a timely and efficient manner.

” These reforms are consistent with that. I have to tell you that we see China as a very important development partner for African countries. It was before and it will continue to be, so this is not at all aimed at China,” Mr Selassie said.

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