Zambia poised to sign debt restructuring MoU -finance minister

MARRAKECH, Morocco (Reuters) – Zambia is poised to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on its debt restructuring with official creditors, its finance minister said on Thursday – a key step to securing the next tranche of funding from the International Monetary Fund.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva had said earlier on Thursday that Zambia had already signed the MoU, when speaking on a panel at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakech.

However, clarifying the timeline, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said the actual signing had yet to happen, though it was imminent.

“From Managing Director Kristalina’s mouth to god’s ears, the MoU will hopefully be signed next week, we are very close to finalising it,” Musokotwane said in a statement sent to reporters after the event.

Zambia was the first African country to default on its debt in the pandemic era and its restructuring process, which saw it agree broad terms to rework $6.3 billion of debt with official creditors in June, has been beset by delays.

“An agreement on an MoU is nearly finalized and the signing is expected soon. More details will be made available then,” an IMF spokesperson added in a statement after the panel finished.

(Reporting by Rachel Savage and Andrea Shalal, Editing by Jorgelina do Rosario, Karin Strohecker and Toby Chopra)