clearn.png
Sunday February 5th, 2023 11:03PM

Yellen pushes for China to address Zambia's big debt burden

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on the second leg of an African tour aimed at promoting American investment and ties, said on Monday it's crucial to immediately address Zambia's heavy debt burden with China.

Yellen was in Lusaka, a capital city that's visibly dominated by Chinese financing. Visitors to Lusaka arriving at the renovated Kenneth Kaunda International Airport see a facility expanded in 2015 with Chinese money. A ride into the city passes billboards and newly built firms bearing Chinese signage, more evidence of Beijing's influence and increasing competition with the United States.

But the growth that the country has experienced has come with a heavier debt burden. Zambia became Africa’s first coronavirus pandemic-era sovereign nation to default when it failed to make a $42.5 million bond payment in November 2020. Negotiations over how to deal with the debt load have been ongoing.

Experts say a prolonged debt crisis could permanently prevent countries like Zambia from recovering, leading to an entire nation sliding deeper into poverty and joblessness, and exclude it from credit to rebuild in the future. “It’s critically important to address it right away,” Yellen told reporters at a Monday morning press conference in Zambia's National Public Health Institute.

How Zambia's debt is renegotiated with the Chinese — and how quickly — will provide a test case for how lenient China will be with other overextended nations that face debt distress.

On Monday, Yellen said that while she had “constructive” conversations with her Chinese counterpart on Zambia's debt in Switzerland during a first face-to-face meeting last week, “it's taken far too long already to resolve this matter."

Addressing Zambia's debt is a primary reason for Yellen's visit, and the Treasury secretary met with Zambia’s president and finance minister on Monday to talk about the ongoing negotiations.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said during a bilateral meeting with Yellen that the country faces a late March deadline to find a solution to its debt overhang, which would then further drag its economy.

Yusuf Dodia, an economist and director of Action Group Zambia, told The Associated Press that while analysts say Zambia shouldn’t take on any more debt, “there are infrastructure projects that we need done to change the trajectory of the Zambian economy.”

“If we had a widespread railway system, that would ensure that the cost of transport in Zambia would be brought down to 15% of the current cost — right now we’re dependent on busing and trucking — that would lower the cost of doing business.”

Also Monday, Yellen toured Mylan Laboratories, a packaging subsidiary of American pharmaceutical manufacturer Viatris. The lab opened in 2010 with a $10 million U.S. investment and packages drugs that treat malaria and HIV in the country and region.

Still, Yellen insists her trip is not about competition with China.

“We want to deepen our engagement,” she said “We see a rapidly growing young population that needs opportunities and economic growth.”

“We have many government programs and international programs that are oriented to help efforts to build infrastructure," she said. “And when we do that, we want to make sure that we don’t create the same problems that Chinese investment has sometimes created here.”

Yellen said the U.S. wants to invest in companies with contracts that “have transparency, that we have projects that really bring broad-based benefits to the African people and don’t leave a legacy of unsustainable debt.”

She also made a stop at the Zambia National Public Health Institute, considered a model of its kind.

Yellen started her 10-day African trip in Senegal, where she visited a onetime slave-trading post, and will visit South Africa.

The Biden administration's tour of Africa continues, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced that she would be the second Cabinet member heading to Africa — to Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya starting Jan. 25 — as part of President Joe Biden’s big push to engage with the world’s second-largest continent.

In December, the White House announced the Democratic administration's support for the African Union becoming a permanent member of the Group of 20 nations.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Lavrov blames West for no Ukraine talks, defends navy drills
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow was willing to negotiate with Ukraine in the early months of the war but the United States and other Western nations advised Kyiv against it
9:26AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Poland pushes for more tanks for Kyiv, will seek German OK
Poland's prime minister says his government will ask Germany for permission to send some of the Polish army’s Leopard tanks to Ukraine
9:24AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump's MAGA forces threaten to upend vote for RNC chair
The Republican National Committee is set to resolve a bitter leadership feud that is exposing dangerous divisions within a party that has struggled to move past a disappointing midterm ahead of a critical race for the White House
9:23AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Yellen pushes for China to address Zambia's big debt burden
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says on the second leg on her African tour it's “critically important” to address Zambia's debt crisis
8:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
EXPLAINER: Why Macron, French unions at odds over pensions
The French government is presenting a bill that foresees broad changes to the pension system that will notably push back the legal retirement age from 62 to 64
7:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Yellen in Zambia to discuss debt to China, public health
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says on the second leg on her African tour it's “critically important” to address Zambia's debt crisis
7:17AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Sheriff: Suspect in dance club shooting killed self in van
Authorities say the suspect in a California dance club shooting that left 10 dead has shot and killed himself
11:55PM ( 9 hours ago )
49ers beat Cowboys 19-12 to advance to NFC title game
Christian McCaffrey scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter and San Francisco’s defense did the rest, sending the 49ers to their second straight NFC title game with a 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys
11:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
NFL playoffs: Bengals win streak hits 10, 49ers also advance
The Kansas City Chiefs learned they’ll get to host the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals instead of playing at a neutral site
10:11PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Rep. Katherine Clark's daughter is charged in police assault
The daughter of Massachusetts Democratic congresswoman Katherine Clark was arrested during a protest on Boston Common and later charged with assault after a police officer was injured
10:42PM ( 11 hours ago )
Dems: Biden should be 'embarrassed' by classified docs case
Senior Democrats are expressing criticism of how President Joe Biden handled classified material after leaving office as vice president
5:26PM ( 16 hours ago )
Harris rallies against GOP push to roll back abortion rights
Vice President Kamala Harris is rallying supporters against efforts in Washington and in Republican-led states to restrict abortion on what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe vs
2:16PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Lavrov says West prevented negotiations to end Ukraine war
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow was willing to negotiate with Ukraine in the early months of the war but the United States and other Western nations advised Kyiv against it
7:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
New 1994 ferry disaster report: No collision, no explosion
The accident investigation boards of Estonia, Finland and Sweden say there is no indication that there was a collision or an explosion on a ferry that sank in the Baltic Sea 28 years ago in one of Europe’s deadliest peacetime maritime disasters
7:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trial against Hells Angels set to start in Spain
The trial of a former leader of the Hells Angels in Europe is set to start in Madrid
6:56AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
EU slaps sanctions on dozens in Iran over protest crackdown
The European Union has imposed sanctions on dozens more Iranian officials suspected of playing a role in the crackdown on protesters
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Wall Street modestly higher ahead of more corporate earnings
Markets were slightly higher on Wall Street ahead of the bell as investors prepare for another big slate of corporate earnings
8:39AM ( 1 hour ago )
EU plans more Iran sanctions; won't list Revolutionary Guard
The European Union is set to impose sanctions on several more Iranian officials suspected of playing a role in the crackdown on protesters
7:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Lavrov blames West for no Ukraine talks, defends navy drills
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow was willing to negotiate with Ukraine in the early months of the war but the United States and other Western nations advised Kyiv against it
9:26AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Poland pushes for more tanks for Kyiv, will seek German OK
Poland's prime minister says his government will ask Germany for permission to send some of the Polish army’s Leopard tanks to Ukraine
9:24AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump's MAGA forces threaten to upend vote for RNC chair
The Republican National Committee is set to resolve a bitter leadership feud that is exposing dangerous divisions within a party that has struggled to move past a disappointing midterm ahead of a critical race for the White House
9:23AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Biden’s next climate hurdle: Enticing Americans to buy green
President Joe Biden persuaded Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change
9:10AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Lights out in Pakistan as energy-saving move backfires
Officials say much of Pakistan was struck by a power outage as an energy-saving measure by the government backfired
9:09AM ( 33 minutes ago )