The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung AU Cooperation Office in collaboration with AFRODAD has organized a side event in line with the AfCoDD II conference on Debt and Development, which was held from 24th to 26th August 2022 in Lilongwe, Malawi.
At the forum, prominent BHR practitioners, representatives from academia and CSOs from the four corners of the African continent have participated in the program. During the 5th Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration, the African Union Commission puts forward the concept to establish the African Debt Observatory, as an African institution to collate and analyze standardized indicators and information while raising the level of knowledge on public debt in order to strengthen policy making and dialogue in the continent.
Africa as a continent has heavily relied on multi-lateral institutions and international organizations when it comes to data and statistics on Debt. In fact, the existing data overwhelmingly pictured Debt in Africa as simplistic as internal Vs. external debt and lacks detailed and important indicators, indicators which are specific to the African countries. For instance, there is a lack of data disclosure on lending by certain creditors.
The panel agreed that there is a need to close the gaps in data, analysis and knowledge on Africa’s debt and debt-related issues. This not only pertains to government officials but also to the public – debt-related systems need to be transparent and participatory in order to foster accountability. While the audience recognizes the African Union Commission’s effort to pursue a continental institution for the specified challenges, questions over institutional visibility and financial implications were raised. In general, the forum highlighted the need to have a continuous engagement with the member countries and African CSOs on the proposed topic.
Recently, the FES AU Cooperation office in collaboration with the African Union ETTIM department has commissioned two studies on Debt. Both studies have produced a series of recommendations on how to better manage and govern the growing debt crisis in Africa and the establishment of the African Debt Observatory was one of the main policy recommendations.
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