The Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF) has become an integral part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Spring and Annual Meetings, providing an open space
for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to dialogue and exchange views with World Bank Group and IMF staff, their peers, government delegations, and other stakeholders on a wide range of topics. AFRODAD together with a group of leading Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) organised and sponsored a high-level event at the spring meetings under the theme, ‘Tackling the Next Wave of Sovereign Debt Crises’. The event took place on Wednesday the 10th April in Washington DC was attended by world leaders, finance ministers, business leaders, development groups and journalists from around the world.
There is need for another structure that deals with debt and as civil society our call is a fresh debt workout mechanism which is fully independent and transparent enough to protect the rights of citizens, said Dr. Fanwell Bakosi AFRODAD Director.
Speakers at the high-level forum included Bokosi, Benin’s Finance Minister Romuald Wadagni, the IMF’s David Lipton First Deputy Managing Director, The Guardian’s Larry Elliot, Legal expert lee Buccheit and Prof. Odette Lienau.
According to Mr Lipton, public debt is almost surpassing levels last seen in the crises of the 1980s_35 low-income countries are either in distress or at high risk of distress. “There is need to reduce the risks of debt crises by improving ability to spot vulnerabilities and to effect debt transparency, helping countries to better manage debts at an early stage and to strengthen governments’ ability to raise revenue".
Panellists emphasised the need to do things differently and move away from the status quo. They called for both creditors and lenders to prioritise transparency ahead of anything else. “We must not do what we did before, we must not wait and watch a debt crisis happen, or take 20 years to act because in the process people will die. Unfortunately the majority will be the most vulnerable members of our society ” said Dr. Bokosi.
Benin Finance Minister, Romuald Wadagni also emphasised challenges associated with transparency as the main driver of debt crises in Africa. “If multinational institutions lend a government and those loans are not disclosed, there are high chances that funds will be abused. Unfortunately nations suffer when the time of servicing comes as most of the money meant for public services like health and education is diverted to unscrupulous activities.”
Spring Meetings and related ancillary events kicked off on April 9 and ends on the 14 of April, 2019. Meetings are comprised of events open to all attendees, ministerial-level invitation-only sessions, and closed bilateral meetings. AFRODAD through representation from Dr Fanwell Bakosi and Tirivangani Mutazu, Senior Policy Analyst under the Debt Management Portfolio have since attended side and main meetings but AFRODAD is scheduled to host a high profile event on Friday under the topic, “Challenges to the Economy, stabilising the CEMAC Region: Prerequisite to successful economic and Fiscal Reforms for effective debt management.”