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As Zambia Nears Default, Analysts Examine What Went Wrong

File image of Zambia President Edgar Lungu speaking with reporters at the State House in Lusaka. SALIM DAWOOD / AFP

Although Zambia missed a $42.5 million bond payment on November 14th, and effectively defaulted on that portion of its debt, it’s still technically not in default yet. It will probably officially cross that line within the next few days, making it the first African country this year to do so.

Meantime, regarding the question of who is responsible for the country’s financial mismanagement, fingers are pointing in all directions. Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu blames bondholders, private creditors blame the government for not being transparent and others say China is heavily responsible for loading up the country with billions in debt and then using strict non-disclosure agreements to block information about those liabilities from reaching outside investors. 

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