Zambia Govt Asks IMF To Increase Loan Request To $1.7 Billion

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday that the Zambia’s government had asked for its $1.3 billion loan programme to be increased to $1.7 billion to help it respond to a severe drought.

The IMF also said in a statement that it had reached a staff-level agreement on the third review of the southern African country’s Extended Credit Facility.

Once the latest review is approved by IMF’s executive board at a meeting expected by the end of June, Zambia will have access to roughly $573 million, the fourth disbursement under the facility.

Zambia is one of a handful of African countries grappling with a drought induced by the El Niño weather phenomenon that has plunged parts of the region into hunger.

The copper-rich country is close to emerging from a debt-restructuring process beset by delays after more than three and a half years.

Zambia’s finance ministry said last week that more than 90% of holders of its $3 billion in outstanding international bonds had accepted a restructuring proposal.

Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said the staff-level agreement announced on Tuesday was a “testament to Zambia’s determination to rebuild macroeconomic and debt sustainability” and its efforts to finalise restructuring talks within the parameters of its IMF programme.