Zambia hires communication adviser over debt restructuring

Zambia's President Edgar Chagwa Lungu addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Indebted Zambia has appointed communication firm Highgate Advisory Ltd as it negotiates with creditors to restore its debt to sustainable levels, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said.

Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, is seeking debt relief from its creditors after missing a $42.5 million bond coupon payment in November, becoming Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign default.

Highgate has been engaged for a period of six months at a cost of 333,403 pounds ($452,962), Yamba said in a statement.

“Highgate is specialized in debt restructuring communication and has assisted a number of countries in debt restructuring programmes,” the statement said.

Zambia last year chose French company Lazard Freres to provide advisory services regarding liability management for its debt portfolio.

($1 = 0.7361 pounds)

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Kirsten Donovan