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Ghana to host conference on lasting solutions to Africa’s debt crisis

Ghana, under the auspices of the International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), will host a three-day conference to learn from the past, and find lasting solutions to the continent’s debt crisis.

It is being convened in partnership with the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) and the government of Ghana.

The three-day conference, to be held from 27th to 29th March 2024, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, is being organised at a time that about half of African countries are either in debt distress or on the brink of a debt crisis.

The conference would, therefore, provide a platform to draw lessons from the past, identify how best to restructure debt and prevent insolvency and have alternatives to external-loan support programmes on debt sustainability.

Through panel and roundtable discussions, Political Scientists, Economists, Policymakers, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), would also come out with ways of reforming the global financial architecture.

There woul
d also be case reviews of debt and restructuring processes in Africa [Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana], Asia [Sri Lanka], and Latin America [Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico].

Speaking at a pre- conference media briefing on Friday, March 22, Dr Yaw Graham, Chairman, Africa Executive Council, IDEAs, said the conference would end with the development of different approaches to tackling Africa’s debt crisis.

It would, thus ensure that countries, experts from academia and industry, development partners, and CSOs come out with positive actions, and through advocacy and solidarity, ensure the implementation of the conference outcomes.

Dr Graham noted that many African countries had found themselves in debt crisis due to a multiplicity of factors – a downturn in commodity crisis, rise in foreign interest rate, COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war.

That, he said was because the continent failed to build resilience when it had the opportunity to borrow from the international market, as
such, when the situation changed, the countries could no longer borrow to service their debts.

‘It’s just about a decade ago that the conversation about Africa was about Africa rising, and there was a mood of optimism – the development indicators were good,’ he noted.

Nonetheless, the number of African countries borrowing from the international credit market increased, as the international credit market found them attractive, he stated.

Dr Graham said during the same period, the role of the Bretton Woods institutions declined as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative ended, while governments resorted to more domestic borrowings.

The accumulation of debts, he said had led to pressure on public finances, with a huge percentage of resources available being spent on debt servicing among many African countries.

The situation, he said required a reflection on the change in the debt profile over the past 20 years and to situate the evolution into context and work collaboratively to solve it – the
objective of the conference.

Source: Ghana News Agency