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Zambia: Independent debt office is key to Hichilema’s reforms

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Friday, 27 August 2021 13:54

Zambia's new president Hakainde Hichilema. (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Creation of a debt office with genuine independence will be crucial to the success of reforms by Zambia's new President Hakainde Hichilema, analysts say.

Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) has promised to create a national debt management office as an independent agency responsible for debt management policy. Such a move is likely to go down well with the IMF, from whom Zambia is attempting to secure an extended credit facility.

Zambia has a debt office embedded in its finance ministry, and whether or not it is a separate entity is unimportant, says Gregory Smith, an expert on Zambia and author of ‘Where Credit is Due: How Africa’s Debt Can Be a Benefit, Not a Burden‘, published in June by Hurst & Co.