Zambia Deputy Leader Says Debt Warning a Plot to Oust Government

(Bloomberg) -- Zambia’s vice president dismissed criticism of the country’s rapidly growing debt as part of a smear campaign to force the government from power.

“The issue of Zambian debt is being dramatized -- Zambia’s debt is being taken out of proportion,” Inonge Wina told lawmakers Friday in Lusaka, the capital. “Zambia’s debt has become a camouflage, a tool to destabilize Zambian people’s confidence in their government and to force a regime change.” She described those behind the alleged campaign as unspecified “champions of international capital.”

The southern African country’s external borrowing has nearly doubled since the end of 2014 to $9.4 billion, with the International Monetary Fund saying it’s at high risk of debt distress. The World Bank on Thursday urged the government to recognize “the enormity of the problems.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.