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By Shapi Shacinda


LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia has suspended plans to get a sovereign credit rating early this year due to the global financial crisis, the central bank said on Friday.


Bank of Zambia (BoZ) head of public relations Kanguya Mayondi said the plans for a credit rating, which had been delayed in part by the death of President Levy Mwanawasa last August, had now been placed on hold until further notice.


Mayondi said the delay came despite Zambia engaging a financial advisor to help it win a sovereign rating.


“J.P. Morgan was successful in the selection process but in view of the global financial crisis, the whole process (of seeking a credit rating) has since been put on hold until further notice,” Mayondi said in a statement. He did not elaborate.


Mwanawasa, whose economic management won Zambia billions of dollars in debt relief, died after a stroke. He was replaced in October by Rupiah Banda but a prolonged electoral dispute and anti-government riots stymied the country’s economic progress.


In December, BoZ governor Caleb Fundanga said that J.P. Morgan had already done the bulk of work and would issue tenders for rating agencies.


Zambia has said it will not issue a bond after seeking a credit rating but will use the appraisal to woo foreign investors for infrastructure development rather than going into capital markets, in order to keep its foreign debt low.


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