LUSAKA: Zambia's central bank kept its monetary policy rate unchanged at 9.0% in a decision announced on Wednesday.

The Bank of Zambia's main lending rate has been at 9.0% since November 2021.

Annual inflation peaked at 24.6% in the middle of last year and had declined steeply until June, when it reached 9.7%, before edging up to 9.9% in July.

In 2020 Zambia became the first African country to default on its sovereign debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It hopes that the International Monetary Fund's executive board will approve a $1.4 billion lending programme as soon as the end of this month, after its official creditors pledged to negotiate a debt restructuring.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula Editing by Alexander Winning)