THE Zambian government has written an official démarche to the United States Government to request a retraction of a portion of the statement made by a senior US official John Bolton, who alleged that the Chinese government intends to repossess some state owned enterprises because of government’s failure to settle its outstanding loan. In his statement to unveil the new USA Policy on Africa in relation to China and Russia, US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said Zambia owed China between US$6 billion – $10 billion and was poised to lose Zesco for China to recoup the debt.
Bolton said China’s quest for more power in Africa was evident in nations like Zambia. He said China was poised to take over Zambia’s power company Zesco to collect the debt. Bolton called the business practices of China and Russia in Africa “corrupt” and “predatory” and said the United States planned to counter their economic and political influence.
But foreign minister Joseph Malanji said the government was optimistic that the American Embassy in Zambia would transmit the demarche to Washington DC as soon as possible. Malanji said the Zambian government was disappointed that such a statement lacking accurate information could come from a high ranking official who could have easily verified the information with the American Embassy in Lusaka before giving a presentation of such magnitude.
“Such misinformation gives a bad name to America’s foreign policy. Zambia enjoys cordial bilateral and multilateral relations with the US government, and does not wish to see its diplomatic ties strained as a result of misinformation. Zambia has not offered any of its state assets as bilateral or multilateral loans that Zambia contracts are sovereign guaranteed,” Malanji said.
“Therefore, no State asset or State enterprise were at risk of being repossessed as they have not been used as collateral security.”
He said Zambia was not in a debt crisis and its debt ratio in relation to the country’s GDP was good.
Malanji said Zambia was managing its debt repayment very well and had not defaulted in any of its repayment plans.
This is according to a statement issued by first secretary press, tourism at Zambia’s mission in Ethiopia, Inutu Mupango Mwanza.