Debt Sustainability Architecture: Improving the framework to better serve borrower countries

Ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF
Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | 6:30–8:00 p.m. (WEST)
SABRATA Room, Kenzi Menara Palace. Zone de l’Agdal, Bd Mohamed VI.
Marrakech, Morocco

By invitation-only

In the current context of multiple and interlocking crises, the number of countries facing the risk of default will only rise, and as negotiations for debt restructuring unravel for months–or years–on end, populations will suffer the consequences of debt distress and uncertainty in their daily lives. Zambia’s two-year long restructuring process has been a recent and clear example that the current common framework is not well suited to help countries in distress receive an expeditious resolution that will enable them find reprieve from their existing debt burden.

As other countries, such as Ghana or Ethiopia, apply for restructuring, there is a need to develop a clear framework that can help borrower countries understand the process and agree on expectations. The process that Zambia has gone through provides lessons that can be learnt by other countries facing debt distress, and can serve as a good basis for building initial principles and steps, which can then continue to be improved as the understanding of the different contexts continues to deepen.

The 2023 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF offer a critical moment of reflection and an opportunity to bring together leaders and policymakers to identify recommendations and concrete steps towards improving the current sovereign debt sustainability infrastructure to make it more inclusive, and efficient. It is also a particularly important moment to raise the voices and concerns of borrower countries so that the outcomes of the meetings respond to their needs.

The ministerial-level event on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings will serve to reflect on what is needed to better capture and respond to the concerns and needs of borrower countries in the debt restructuring process, using Zambia’s experience as an example. Participants will:

  • Share reflections and lessons learned from the Zambia experience
  • Discuss common themes and patterns from other countries’ experiences in debt restructuring
  • Develop recommendations on the issues to be taken forward within the sovereign roundtable framework, G20 and other fora
  • Identify important opportunities for collective action beyond the Annual Meetings, such as in regional convenings.

Hosted by the NYU Center on International Cooperation, the government of Zambia, and Open Society Foundations

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