During a visit to Zambia on Friday (31 March 2023), the final stop on a continental trip, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed her plea for a “quick finalization” of the nation’s significant debt restructuring.
The estimated $17.3 billion in foreign debt owed by the nation has been pushed aside by the United States from creditors, including China. 2020 saw the Covid epidemic and the default of Zambia.
“We will continue to advocate for the speedy completion of Zambia’s debt treatment and restructuring,” Harris said at a press conference after a meeting with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema in Lusaka.
“The international community must help countries like Zambia get back on their feet. So I will reiterate the call that I have made many times to all bilateral creditors to make significant debt reduction.
After Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, Ms. Harris’ visit occurs a few months later. In response to Chinese investment, the US is attempting to establish its dominance on the continent’s resource-rich region.
Since Lusaka asked for help under a G20 mechanism for restructuring the debt of the poorest states, the United States has accused China, the biggest creditor of many African nations, of being slow to act.
“Our priority as a country is to rebuild our economy. What is holding us back is debt,” Hichilema said.
After traveling to Tanzania and Ghana, Kamala Harris—the first woman and the first person of color to be elected as vice president of the United States—arrived in Lusaka on Friday (31 March 2023).
When she was younger, she had already been to Zambia to see her maternal grandfather, who had a job there. She made a brief stop at the residence he occupied in the 1960s in Lusaka. The oldest of her grandchildren informed reporters that her grandfather was one of her favorites.