The Commonwealth and International Debt

The Commonwealth and International Debt
27 April 2021, 3.00pm - 5.00pm

In their recent summary report on Africa’s road to recovery in 2021, Chatham House underlined the stark fact that ‘many African countries will be much more seriously affected by the socioeconomic consequences of the global economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic. Even before COVID-19 hit, an increasing number of African countries were indebted and financially stressed.’ This includes a number of Commonwealth African countries, and the fall out of the global pandemic has vastly exacerbated these financial strains. In April 2020, G20 Finance Ministers and the World Bank supported the Debt Service Suspension Initiative which includes 40 African states. The DSSI suspended debt repayments until 30 June 2021. However, to date, there has been no reduction in the net value of outstanding multilateral debt – let alone the significant sums sub-Saharan African states owe their bilateral creditors, or private obligations to Chinese lenders or Eurobond creditors. In all, African indebtedness is currently estimated to be an eye-watering $40billion. One of the lesser-known achievements of the Commonwealth in the 1990s and 2000s was its sustained contribution to international efforts to address the crisis of global debt through the Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief programme. This panel discussion draws together leading Commonwealth figures to reflect on the diplomacy and work behind the scenes which made HIPC and MLDR possible, and if another Commonwealth-led collaboration can help address the current debt crisis facing Commonwealth member states. 

All welcome-this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.