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HomeNewsAfricaLessons from Zambia’s debt restructuring

Lessons from Zambia’s debt restructuring

Kurt Davis Jr.

By Kurt Davis Jr.

Investment banker

Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He earned a M.B.A. in finance, entrepreneurship, and operations from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a J.D. in tax law and commercial law from the University of Virginia School of Law. He can be reached at

President Hakainde Hichilema is creating a new playbook for African restructurings.

It will be a year in August since Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema took office. He walked into a financial mess with Zambia having already defaulted on its foreign debt in 2020 under previous President Edgar Lungu. The country is officially burdened with $14.1 billion in debt but is believed to be unofficially burdened with significantly more debt in relation to secret deals between the Lungu administration and various Chinese lenders. According to the China Africa Research Initiative, it is estimated that 18 large and small Chinese institutions have provided loans directly to Zambia and indirectly to state-owned entities since 2000.

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