LUSAKA Nov 16 (Reuters) - Zambia's finance ministry said on Monday it had reached an agreement with China's Exim Bank to suspend interest and principal payments worth $110 million which had been due between May 1 and December 31 of 2020.

The deal, it said in a statement, was agreed within the framework of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) backed by the Group of 20 wealthy nations.

Zambia, which last week became Africa's first pandemic-era sovereign default, said it would continue to engage private Chinese lenders based on "friendly consultations". (Reporting by Chris Mfula Writing by Joe Bavier Editing by Karin Strohecker)