Secret talks are underway for a Chinese company to takeover ZESCO, an electricity company in Zambia. This is because the country has fallen into debt, and China is seizing government assets for repayment. This is an increasingly visible strategy whereby China encourages excess government indebtedness and then, when it cannot repay, takes over strategic national resources and assets. Zambia’s formerly state-owned TV and radio news channel ZNBC already is Chinese-owned. The IMF is criticizing these actions but, ironically, it was the IMF itself, along with international companies headquartered in the West, that pioneered this tactic of national plunder decades ago. –GEG
The publication Africa Confidential has revealed that secret talks are underway for a Chinese company to takeover ZESCO. This is yet another instance of Zambia handing over sovereignty to the Chinese, putting us in a dubious position should we default on loans, leaving the Chinese to seize government assets.
In a report titled ‘Bonds, bills and ever bigger debts’ published on September 3, Africa Confidential observed that ZNBC was already being run by the Chinese.
“A major worry of the IMF and US is that China’s BRI strategy is first to encourage indebtedness, and then to take over strategic national assets when debtors default on repayments. The state electricity company ZESCO is already in talks about a takeover by a Chinese company, AC has learned. The state-owned TV and radio news channel ZNBC is already Chinese-owned. The long-term outcome could be effective Chinese ownership of the commanding heights of the economy and potentially the biggest loss of national sovereignty since independence,” the report read.
There are serious concerns that the Zambian government has indeed underplayed the amount of Chinese debt we have, which if released would be shocking to all Zambians.
In the article, Africa Confidential reiterates the IMF’s concerns that Zambia has ruined its finances by getting into financial difficulties thanks to over use of Chinese debt, especially for overprices and poorly carried out infrastructure projects.
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