On October 31 2023, the FES AU Cooperation office in collaboration with AFRODAD has organized a webinar on the trending issue of “The Establishment of an African Debt Monitoring Mechanism (ADMM)” with speakers from UNECA, AFRODAD, and an independent African debt expert. The webinar convened more than 50 participants from the four corners of the African continent, primarily including CSOs, NGOs and representatives from academia. This is the first time the ADMM issue has been discussed outside of the African Union statuary meetings.
Africa’s debt and its sustainability remain major concerns. To date, 22 African countries face debt distress and several countries are defaulting. A variety of reasons are frequently discussed. However, the lack of accurate, aggregated, standardized, and timely debt related data is often overlooked, although data access is the foundation of local debt management capacities. Still, in many African countries, Medium-Term Debt Strategies and Debt Sustainability Analyses are carried out with support from the Bretton Woods institutions on an ad-hoc basis. The establishment of the ADMM would potentially be a vehicle for African countries to gain more political agency in international and multilateral debt discussions and provide home-grown, localized solutions. Once fully implemented, the ADMM will be a centralized mechanism to collect, collate, standardize, and aggregate debt related data in Africa and would serve as a platform to advise, consult, and train African members states in debt relief and re-structuring discussions and negotiations.
During the discussions, several issues have been brought up, such as the harmonization and coordination among institutions, e.g. the IMF, WB, Member States, and the African Development Bank. Furthermore, participants highlighted the role of African CSOs, academia, and parliamentarians in mainstreaming debt management tools at the national and regional level. As such, participants have concluded that the African Union initiative, the ADMM, is a step in the right direction. The webinar has served as an opportunity to engage and foster an integrated view among CSOs and development partners to uptake the idea and provide full support in the anticipated African Union Specialised Technical Committee meeting scheduled for February 2024.
We thank the panelists and participants and look forward to continuing the exchange about African debt and the ADMM involving CSOs, NGOs, and academia. Please find the recording here. For more information, please contact Mr. Amanuel Desalegne (FES AU Program Manager) or Mr. Shem Otieno (AFRODAD Policy Analyst and Advocacy Officer) and follow us on X @fes_au and @afrodad2011.