Zambia acquired 'debt-for-nature' proposal from WWF for $13bln restructuring

LONDON – Zambia acquired a ‘debt-for-nature swap’ proposal as a part of its $13 billion restructuring discussions, a transfer that whereas advanced to safe and never a part of present talks, might set an eco-friendly precedent for different debt crises if ultimately included.

Zambia has turn into a take a look at case for the G20-led ‘Frequent Framework’ restructuring car launched throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, however variations with a few of its principal collectors in regards to the debt reduction required means progress has been gradual.

The federal government confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday a beforehand undisclosed element – that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) offered a blueprint final 12 months on how conservation pledges may very well be a part of the deal.

Of their easiest kind, debt-for-nature swaps change costly bonds or loans with cheaper financing, often with the assistance of a credit score assure from a multilateral growth financial institution.

It’s an method that helped each Belize and Seychelles safe writedowns that put tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} into ocean safety and conservationists see Zambia, identified for the long-lasting Victoria Falls, as an apparent candidate.

Its huge swathes of nationwide parks are dwelling or migration routes for a few of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife together with lions and elephants. Their habitats, although, are beneath growing risk from local weather change and deforestation.

“The Ministry of Finance and Nationwide Planning has acquired a proposal from the World Wildlife Fund relating to the consideration of debt-for-nature swaps,” the ministry stated in an emailed response as to if it was taking a look at a swap.

The thought has not been factored into the Worldwide Financial Fund’s present debt sustainability evaluation however that would not stop it being added later, particularly if collectors made it clear that they could again it.

“We might be contemplating all debt restructuring choices which are within the framework (G20 Frequent Framework)which falls throughout the DSA (debt sustainability evaluation) parameters… and which are acceptable to all events,” the ministry’s response added.


WWF’s Zambia nation head, Nachilala Nkombo, informed Reuters that the newest talks with the federal government came about final month.

Whereas a few of Zambia’s non-public sector bond holders are anticipated to be open to the concept, it isn’t identified the place China, France and different key ‘official sector’ collectors stand, provided that talks have already dragged on for 2 years.

Sri Lanka, one other Frequent Framework restructuring nation, has stated that it want to do a debt-for-nature swap and with Zambia nonetheless hoping to wrap up its deal this 12 months it will possible set a precedent.

IMF head Kristalina Georgieva will go to Zambia in two weeks. Her journey will coincide with the nation’s rationing of electrical energy provide to mining corporations as a consequence of critically low water ranges of the nation’s hydroelectric dams that present most of its energy.

The Victoria Falls, the nation’s principal vacationer draw, have been lowered to a trickle at occasions in recent times. Farmers have see crop yields plunge, poaching stays a scourge and deforestation charges are among the many worst on this planet.

“That’s any individual’s job, any individual’s meals and that’s the nation’s future in danger,” Nkombo stated.

(Enhancing by Elaine Hardcastle)