Mozambique will need to renegotiate its debt, to reduce its volume and/or delay repayments. It has debts to multilateral institutions such as the African Development Bank and IMF, to individual countries (such as China and Brazil) which are called bilateral creditors, and to companies and other commercial creditors. Normally negotiations take place in parallel with all three groups and there is an attempt to have the same deal for all three groups. Mozambique’s total foreign debt is $10.1 bn, of which $4.1 bn is to multilateral creditors, $4.3 bn to bilateral creditors. and $1.7 bn to bilateral creditors.
Zitamar (31 Jan) reported that sensibly Mozambique has “approached the Paris Club” of the main creditor nations and that Mozambique was discussed, at least informally, at the club’s 12 January meeting. The Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a carefully worded response through its London financial advisors, Lazard. It said the Ministry “wishes to deny recent rumors in the media erroneously reporting that the Republic has approached the Paris Club for debt relief.”
Mozambique will have to have negotiations with the Paris Club, and it appears that it has only opened initial discussions, before making a formal approach.
The Paris Club is an informal group of official (bi-lateral) creditors which negotiates as a block with debtor countries with payment difficulties. It has 22 permanent members (mainly the United States and most European Union countries) but also Brazil and Russia, who are important creditors to Mozambique. In addition, there are “as hoc participants”, which includes China which is Mozambique’s largest government creditor. Preliminary discussions with the Paris Club are likely to have included questions about the position of China.
Sources: News reports & clippings, 5 February 2017