AFRODAD took part at the Twelfth UNCTAD Debt Management Conference held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 to 20 November 2019. The UNCTAD Debt Management Conference is a biennial event which provides a regular forum for sharing experiences and exchange of views between governments, international organizations, people from the academia, the private financial sector, and civil society, on current debt management issues.
Key highlights of this year’s event included comprehensive panel discussions on diverse issues on debt management - including an overview of rising debts trends, indicators and their evolving risk factors in developing countries. Possibilities and limitations of debt transparency, securitization of development finance as well as long term debt sustainability and multilateral policy responses to issues of sustainable debt management were prominently featured in discussions during the conference. Interventions from African governments’ representatives, multilateral bodies and Civil Society Organisations firmly confirmed the legitimacy of AFRODAD’s concerns regarding issues of rising debts in Africa and the need to work towards the establishment of a fair and transparent international sovereign debt restructuring mechanism and to strengthen inclusive, transparent and accountable public debt borrowing and loan contraction by African governments.
Key lessons that filtered out of the conference include the need to look at debt management beyond just announcing and analyzing debt figure and trends. Risks of excessive debt are well known and the challenge should now shift from just mastering debt trends and associated technicalities, to taking effective action that would contribute to the development and implementation of sustainable debt policies and practices to guarantee sustainable development outcomes especially in Africa.
AFRODAD was represented at this event by Yungong Theo. Jong, Acting Head of Programmes and Policy Analyst within the Debt Management Department.