The Zambia-IMF-China Conundrum, HH should break bread with President Xi

The Zambia-IMF-China Conundrum, HH should break bread with President Xi
The Zambia-IMF-China Conundrum, HH should break bread with President Xi

Africa-Press – Zambia. In opposition, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema on numerous occasions boasted that he had capabilities of clinching debt restructuring within weeks of becoming Head of State. He claimed, his finance and economics credentials were so strong that he would easily manage to put all the creditors in one room and get them to agree to restructure our debt. Mr Hichilema sang that song too many times that it even became believable.

Now with almost 10 months in office, President Hichilema doesn’t even know whether he is going or coming over the debt issue. Debt is a subject that he has been avoiding for some time now because not only has he failed to convince the creditors even after getting the IMF on his side but because actually foreign debt has increased by 4% under his watch.

We should have Vicky Ford, the UK Minister for Africa to thank who revealed during the Hot FM Breakfast Show that the G20 Global Debt Restructuring Framework through which Zambia is hoping to benefit is moving slowly because of one creditor. We have it on good authority that the creditor Madam Ford spoke about is China and there are no surprises there.

Since assuming office, President Hichilema has naively chosen to play isolationist politics with China. It is baffling that a man who claims to fully understand how the global finance architecture operates could undertake such a suicidal mission to ignore China when that country holds two thirds of our foreign debt stock.

Now China is not coming to the table, without it, the IMF and other multilaterals won’t manage to achieve anything and President Hichilema now has an egg on his face. The man who told us that he is such a respected negotiator now has to rely on Minister Ford and the UK government to plead with China on our behalf to get some commitments on debt restructuring.

It is clear that the man went into State House to be remote controlled by western capitalists and he is now beginning to realise that real power has shifted and now rests with the East. If President Hichilema wasn’t that gullible, he would have taken the presidential challenger and embarked on a trip to China to lobby support from Beijing for us to move forward over the debt quagmire. In his gullibility, his first international trip was to New York and Washington to pander to the interests of his backers who are now stuck with him and can’t move forward without China.

Our advice to President Hichilema, take a trip to Beijing now and go and engage President Xi Jinping. The boy from Kapiri you appointed as your Foreign Affairs Minister is misleading you over the role of China in Zambia’s economy. You sent him to China a few weeks ago and he came back with nothing.

Mr. President, those boys and girls from the IMF will not save your already unpopular presidency, lessons in economic and political history are plenty of leaders who lost power after they went to bed with the IMF.

It should be stated in no uncertain terms that the only true friend we have in the global South is China. Mr President, it is time to cut your huge ego and go and break bread with President Xi.

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