Zambia is being considered the next victim of China’s Belt and Road. According to the South China Morning Post, this country has suffered a financial crisis, with foreign debts as high as 17.3 billion US dollars, and China is the first creditor.
Zambia has approved many investment projects from China’s Belt and Road, such as building projects, airports, highways, and dams, with investments from China exceeding 6 billion dollars.
To solve the debt problem, the creditors of the Zambian government gathered in Paris on June 16.
Wu Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, also visited Zambia to coordinate China’s response. Wu Peng also met Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema on June 17 and called on the IMF to quickly approve a $1.4 billion loan to Zambia.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked Wu Peng for his call, stressing that Zambia’s debt needs to be “unlocked” before the economy can reopen. He also indicated that progress had been made in the call with the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping.
In response to China passing Zambia’s debt on to the IMF, the organization said that Beijing and other creditors must first agree on a relief package before the IMF can approve a $1.4 billion loan to Zambia.
So far, China’s Belt and Road initiative has left many countries in Asia and Africa heavily indebted. Some countries have been forced to sacrifice their territorial sovereignty to Beijing, such as the case of Sri Lanka, to repay China’s debt. China’s Belt and Road is called a giant debt trap.