African Finance Ministers Negotiate Debt with Creditors

Finance Ministers from a number of African countries on Monday launched talks with private creditors in an attempt to get repayments suspended without triggering default clauses in their respective debt agreements.
Bloomberg reports that at least a dozen African finance ministers spoke during an hour-and-half long virtual meeting with more than 100 creditors on Monday.
The conversation centred on allowing African nations to suspend payments while guaranteeing their access to debt markets in the future.
The meeting ended without tangible conclusions as it resolved that a one-size-fits-all approach was not going to be applicable since different nations had different debt situations.
However, both sides agreed to engage more at later dates.
African countries owe both national governments and private creditors in excess of US$20billion. They want payments on these debts to be suspended so they can have free hands to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic that is threatening to overwhelm health facilities on the continent.
While national governments are mostly agreeable to the idea of suspending payments, private creditors have been difficult to bring around, Bloomberg reports.
The African Union’s special envoy, Tidjane Thiam had chaired Monday’s virtual meeting, according to a joint statement that was later released by UNECA and the Washington-based Institute of International Finance.
“A one-size-fits-all solution may not apply in light of country-specific characteristics. Communication to and from all stakeholders needs to be well managed so as not to cause unnecessary disruption in the crucial flow of private capital.”
Head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe is also said to have participated in the meeting.


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