Debt levels in many countries were high when the pandemic hit. But today, global public debt is reaching 100 percent of GDP. In this podcast, we hear a panel discussion about the very real danger for some countries of falling into a debt trap. The seminar was held during the 2021 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings and featured IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, Mohamed El-Erian, President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations. The Panel was moderated by Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times.
Go to IMF.org to watch the webcast.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant inroads in reducing poverty and increasing access to education and health services, but the infrastructure deficit still looms large throughout the region. For many countries, the ability to finance their development needs has become more constrained as public debt has increased rapidly in recent years. In this podcast, Abebe Aemro Selassie says when governments invest in the right types of infrastructure, people are more willing to pay the taxes the government needs to service its debt. Selassie is Director of the IMF's African Department, which has helped organize a special conference in Dakar, Senegal, this week to discuss how countries can continue to address the infrastructure gap while maintaining manageable debt levels.
Debt is at record levels around the world. 40 percent of low-income countries are wrestling with debt distress or high-risk debt levels and for a few countries in sub-Saharan Africa the debt crisis has already materialized. Fanwell Kenala Bokosi is the Executive Director for the African Forum and Network for Debt and Development, or AFRODAD. In this podcast, Bokosi says the nature of Africa’s debt has changed in recent years, making it more difficult to find solutions for debt sustainability problems. Fanwell Bokosi joined a panel on Tackling Debt during the 2019 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings