This conference was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Almost 40% of sub-Saharan African countries are in danger of slipping into a major debt crisis. Eight countries are already in debt distress, while a further 18 countries are at high risk of joining them – a number that has more than doubled since 2013.
Unsustainable debt presents significant risks to global commitments to end extreme poverty. A poorly managed debt crisis would not only set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, it could reverse the development progress made over the last decade after debt relief programmes freed up resources for development in 30 African countries.
The international architecture for preventing and resolving debt crises looks outdated. The composition of creditors has changed, while much more of the debt is on commercial terms compared to previous debt crises in the 1980s and 1990s. The current frameworks and tools for resolving sovereign debt crises are therefore unable to deal with the challenges that lie ahead in an effective, fair, and transparent manner. National authorities tasked with managing public debt are also facing new challenges due to an increasingly volatile global environment.
Leading experts from governments, development agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia convene at this two day conference to debate the prominent issue areas:
- What are the potential debt trajectories in SSA and which countries are most vulnerable of being in debt distress?
- What are the implications of new financing sources for debt sustainability?
- What needs to change at the national and international levels to mitigate these vulnerabilities, and encourage more sustainable and transparent lending and borrowing?
- What are the options for improving existing frameworks to ensure effective, fair and transparent sovereign debt crisis resolutions?