In a press statement delivered on July 7, 2023, Mrs. Mara Myra Sakala Ngoma, President of the Zambia Federation of Employers, commended the New Dawn Government, led by President Hakainde Hichilema, for successfully negotiating a debt restructuring deal with Zambia’s official creditors. The announcement of the deal was made on June 22, 2023, during an international summit held in France.
The debt restructuring agreement, which spans over 20 years with a three-year grace period for interest payments, was welcomed by Mrs. Ngoma as a significant step towards addressing Zambia’s economic recovery. With the country’s economic growth hindered by debt distress, the deal is seen as an opportunity to unlock much-needed financial resources for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Zambia Federation of Employers expects the debt relief to facilitate the implementation of Zambia’s economic reform agenda, addressing crucial macroeconomic issues and unleashing the country’s substantial economic potential. The debt restructuring will free up financial resources that can be channeled towards achieving the objectives outlined in the 8th National Development Plan, which includes economic transformation, job creation, and human and social development.
Recognizing that the country’s debt burden has created uncertainty around investment opportunities, the Zambia Federation of Employers commended the government’s achievement, highlighting the positive impact on the business environment. A favorable business environment attracts more investments in the private sector, stimulates economic growth, creates decent jobs, and improves living standards.
The Zambia Federation of Employers expressed optimism that the restructuring of the debt position will improve the nation’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, where Zambia currently stands at 85 out of 180 economies. The debt restructuring provides a foundation for the country to pursue its Vision 2030 goals through economic recovery, stabilization, steady growth, and targeted interventions in social sectors.
The Zambia Federation of Employers lauded the New Dawn Government for its diligent pursuit of the debt restructuring deal, emphasizing that it enhances the country’s image and reduces associated business risks. The expected release of US$188 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further strengthens the economy and enables the government to invest in critical sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation, education, and more.