LUSAKA  - Zambia is in talks to restructure $3.3 billion of commercial debt, after reaching a deal with overseas holders of its sovereign bonds last week, an official said on Wednesday, as the country seeks to emerge from a three-year default.

"We have already started negotiations and with some we are almost reaching there," Secretary to the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa said at a public meeting, referring to private creditors other than bondholders.

"The $3.3 billion is the money that we have to continue engaging (on) and we are engaging in good faith," he said.

Zambia reached a deal-in-principle with private commercial bondholders, mainly western asset managers, to rework about $3 billion in international bonds on March 25, bringing it closer to finishing a complex process after multiple delays.

The copper-producing country, which is dealing with a devastating drought, now needs to negotiate restructuring agreements with its other commercial creditors, having also reached a deal with bilateral creditors in June 2023.

The remaining commercial lenders include the Chinese state-owned China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the African Export-Import Bank, a regional trade finance provider, and western banks such as Standard Chartered.

Zambia's external debt was $18.3 billion at the end of 2022, according to the most recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on the country. About $13.4 billion of debt is being restructured, Nkulukusa said.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula, Writing by Rachel Savage, Editing by Barbara Lewis)