The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung AU Cooperation Office in Addis Ababa in collaboration with the African Union Commission Department of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Mining (AU/ETTIM) has organized a validation workshop on the 19th and 20th of May 2022, to discuss and validate the findings of the two studies on Debt: Debt Management and Governance in Africa and Africa’s Rising Debt and the Emergence of New Creditors. The two studies on Debt are written in times where Africa as a continent is experiencing a significant increase in public debt and a worsening situation. As a part of stimulating a discussion and policy dialogue around the pertaining topic, the workshop was attended by representatives from the international community, international organizations, AfCFTA secretariat, CSO’s and experts from the African Union as well.
These studies reviewed recent trends in public debt and its composition over the past decade in Africa. As it has been observed from empirical data and analysis, official creditors of African countries were primarily the rich Western states and multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and now this group has expanded to include China, India, Turkey and multilateral institutions. Participants have highlighted the need to recognize the evolving nature and trend of African creditors landscape in the past 20 years and as such, the African Union, as the continent highest political office, must adopt and re-organize a continental effort to negotiate and sound a common voice on the international fora.
The workshop also reiterated, beside all the discussion on the international scenery, African countries have also a sole responsibility to develop and implement legal frameworks for public debt management, in order to draw conclusions about the quality of their debt management governance practices, and their effectiveness in encouraging prudent borrowing and sustainable debt at the national level. In conclusion, participants and experts had the opportunity to reflect on a series of recommendations provided in the study and a particular emphasis was given on the establishment of an African Debt Observatory, as a continental organ to collect, analyze and exchange data across an interconnected system, linking African countries to improve debt management policies and frameworks.