Ensure Accountability, Transparency for IMF Loan: Zambia’s Faith, Civil Leaders to State

Credit: JCTR

Officials of the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Debt Alliance in Zambia are calling on the government of the Southern African nation to enhance transparency and accountability when putting to use the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. 

On August 31, the IMF approved a US$ 1.3 billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF) to Zambia aimed at restoring the country’s macroeconomic stability and promote economic growth after it defaulted on its external debt in 2020.

In a statement published Wednesday, September 7, officials of the alliance say that while the ECF program is capable of restoring Zambia’s ability to meet its current and future arrears and foster higher and inclusive growth, there is need to institute measures “to ensure smooth navigation of the debt restructuring process and subsequent measures for economic turn-around.”

We implore the government to commit to enhancing transparency and accountability in the usage of the resources that will come with this program,” they say in the statement signed by the CSO Debt Alliance chairperson, Fr. Alex Muyebe, who doubles as the Executive Director of the Lusaka-based Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).  

They say in the three-year period that the ECF program will be active, the government of Zambia needs to work “on promoting access to information on the utilization of these resources”.


“This will be made easier if the government expedites the process of passing the Access to Information (ATI) Bill early into the program,” say CSO Debt Alliance officials who include members of JCTR and Caritas Zambia

ATI Bill has been pending since 2002 when it was withdrawn from Zambia’s Parliament.  

The Freedom of Information Bill, as it was known at the time, was withdrawn to allow for further consultations. 

If passed into law, ATI Bill is expected to ensure that the right to seek, access and receive information is guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To ensure accountability from the public, the CSO Alliance officials say there is need to repackage the details of the program in a language and way that can be easily understood by most Zambians. 

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CSO Alliance officials recommend that more resources be put in productive sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing “to enhance productivity and thus our ability to honor the repayment when it becomes due in five and half years.” 

Going forward, the CSO officials say it will be key for the Zambian government “to continue actively engaging all creditors, particularly private creditors who may not be part of the G20 common framework, to ensure comparability of treatment of our creditors for a smooth and consolidated debt restructuring process.”

The CSO Alliance officials also urge the Zambian administration to be open to engagement with other stakeholders such as CSOs, experts and citizens in general “to ensure that there is inclusion and broad consultation on matters that may arise along the period of implementing the program.”

“The alliance, through its pool of experts in various fields, is open to providing the necessary support to the government to ensure that this program is not only a success but serves Zambia’s interest in the process of restructuring its debt,” they say.

In their statement, the faith and civil leaders commend the Zambian government for “the evident resolve to restore fiscal fitness through debt restructuring while safeguarding social sectors through enhanced expenditure towards education, social security and health.” 


In the short term, they say, “The positive sentiments feeding favorably in the financial markets may give the Zambian Kwacha more strength against major currencies.” 

“For the medium to long term, sustaining foreign exchange inflows will be key to underpin a sustained strong currency which will in turn dampen our expenditure on external debt service while supporting domestic economic fundamentals such as inflation,” they say.

The CSO Alliance officials add that the question of debt cancellation need not be pulled off the table. 

The plea for debt cancellation “should also form part of the debt restructuring which is beneficial to Zambia’s economic development needs,” they say in their September 7 statement, signed by the Jesuit Priest, Fr. Muyebe.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.