African Perspectives on Sovereign Debt Restructuring

CIGI Papers No. 43

September 24, 2014

On August 7 and 8, 2014, CIGI’s Global Economy Program co-hosted a conference with Uganda Debt Network to discuss African perspectives on sovereign debt restructuring. The proceedings, opened by the vice president of Uganda, took place in Kampala, and featured several distinguished participants — including current and former finance ministers and central bank governors, academics and practitioners, and civil society representatives — from Uganda, Liberia, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Participants also came from civil society organizations and intergovernmental institutions representing broader groups of African countries or the continent as a whole.

Conference participants prepared papers and presentations on various topics related to sovereign debt governance, including Africa’s past experience with sovereign debt restructuring, its stake in sovereign debt governance going forward and the desirability of reforming the international sovereign debt architecture. The aim of this paper is to distill the main insights from these timely and important contributions. Africa’s extensive experience with sovereign debt restructuring, as well as the changing nature of its international debt relations, make the perspectives contained in this paper valuable contributions to the ongoing debate over how best to govern sovereign debt at the international level. The paper also sheds light on the interests and concerns of African leaders regarding sovereign debt — an issue that is particularly critical to Africa’s development prospects.

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