The Zambian president will meet with the IMF and the World Bank in Washington

© Reuters File Photo: Zambian President Hakinde Hichilama addresses the 3rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, USA on September 21, 2021. Through Spencer Platt / Pool Reuters

LUSAK (Reuters) – Zambia’s president is scheduled to meet with officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, his spokesman said on Wednesday, as the South African country seeks to secure a bailout program to help it emerge from the debt crisis.

Anthony Bayalia, a spokesman for President Huckabee Hichelma, did not say when the meetings would take place in New York.

In November, Zambia became the first African country to fail to pay nearly billion 1 billion in international debt after defaulting on its sovereign debt during the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic. About one-fourth of this debt is secured by China or Chinese companies under a confidentiality agreement, which complicates negotiations on IMF relief.

Hichilma is in the United States for the UN General Assembly. He won a landslide victory over Edgar Lungu in August and vowed to reduce the fiscal deficit, restore economic growth and review the mining policy of Africa’s second-largest producer.

His finance minister said securing an IMF program last month was important to restore cred donors’ confidence and give the government access to cheap and long-term funding.

Late Wednesday, the White House released some details of a meeting between Zambian President and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, saying the two had agreed to establish a deeper relationship on issues such as health and epidemic preparedness.

The White House said in a statement that “the Vice President commended President Hitchhima’s efforts to prioritize the necessary reforms and his efforts to bring stability and growth to Zambia’s economy.”

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