It has become increasingly clear that the status of Chinese predatory lending to Africa would come home to roost. Zambia has approached China for debt relief as this is the biggest creditor to Africa’s second largest copper producing nation.
According to someone in the renegotiation team, China has told Zambia to ‘fuck off and handover ZESCO and KKIA” as it wants to claim valuable assets given as collateral. The Chinese have grown weary of the PF government’s excuses, late repayments and their increasing greed for more loans. China is notoriously secretive about giving financial details of its infrastructure projects and loan agreements to date no Zambian has seen any details of contracts signed between the two countries.
A Chinese government policy adviser, confirmed that Beijing’s aim is also to get their hands on KCM and Mopani. The surrender of these assets would clear only half of Zambia’s outstanding loans to China, but give them almost total control of our copper deposits and smelters. This puts Zambia in a dangerous position as Copper exports account for 70 % of our GDP.
Beijing has made it clear that there will be no outright debt forgiven for Zambia. However, Zambia is unlikely to meet its loan repayment obligation with reduced economic activity due to COVID19. It remains to be seen how the PF government will explain to the Zambian people how their national assets were given away to the Chinese.