No spectacular announcements about African debt at the G20 summit held practically this weekend. The countries in the south, and in particular Africa, were hoping for details after the G20 funding that had been held a week earlier. We talked about a new mechanism for debt restructuring in poor countries involving creditors like China. But obviously we have to wait for new messages.
It is difficult for indebted countries not to be disappointed with the G20 summit. The debt issue was barely touched on there.
One week earlier, however, the finance ministers announced with great fanfare an agreement described as “historic”. In fact, for the first time, all creditors, including China, agreed to work together.
This first step would be followed by other messages, we hoped, but we will have to wait. Because, if a group of 29 creditors decided to work together to reschedule or cancel debts in some countries, they also agreed to continue from case to case. And this work, which promises to be complex and boring, has not yet begun.
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Case by case rather than the usual rule is the solution which is less dependent on the interests of the big countries and which makes it possible to seduce the private creditors that it is impossible to force.
The G20 has not returned to an idea expressed by Emmanuel Macron and Kristalina Gueorguieva during the Paris Peace Forum. The French president and the IMF’s executive director had issued the possibility to merge special drawing rights, money created by the IMF and enabling countries to borrow. The idea, however well received by African economists, has so far remained in the draft.
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