Zambia wants France to accelerate debt restructuring discussions.

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French President Emmanuel Macron met with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the latter’s appeal for France to use its influence to accelerate Zambia’s delayed debt restructuring talks.

The meeting for a New Global Financial Pact will be held in France on June 22-23, with the purpose of expanding crisis funding for vulnerable states in the Global South, and Hichilema’s office issued a statement indicating that Macron wants the restructuring in Zambia to be completed before the meeting.

Macron’s government did not respond to his meeting with Hichilema immediately after it occurred. Zambia’s discussions with its international creditors have halted after the country’s 2020 sovereign debt default.

Zambia’s Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, complained last month that his nation was being “punished” while restructuring talks were ongoing.

Zambia’s largest bilateral creditor is China, but the nation blames them for the delay in reaching an agreement on a debt reduction plan.

With President Macron’s determination that Zambia’s debt restructuring plan be completed before the June summit for a new global financial treaty, Hichilema’s office said that the discussions with Macron were fruitful.

“On our part, we emphasized the importance of concluding debt talks and asked France to use its role to leverage the Paris Club of Creditors Committee and the G20 to ensure the timely resolution of the debt restructuring,” the Zambian statement said.

France and China co-chair Zambia’s official creditors’ committee.

According to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, creditors will meet this week to assess Zambia’s debt restructuring proposal, which was presented to them last month.

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