June 6, 2023
Economy International

IMF, World Bank, and G20 to Convene Sovereign Debt Roundtable for Debt Relief

IMF, World Bank, and G20 to Convene Sovereign Debt Roundtable for Debt Relief

The IMF, World Bank and India, current president of the Group of 20 major economies, will hold a new sovereign debt roundtable on April 3 to discuss accelerating work on debt relief for countries in need. The deputies’ meeting will be followed by a principals’ meeting during the World Bank and IMF spring meetings in Washington. However, no firm date has been set.

The meeting comes amid continued delays in securing debt treatment agreements for Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia, which U.S. officials and others blame on China’s foot-dragging. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva will travel to China from Friday until March 30 to meet China’s new leadership team, including new Premier Li Qiang and Vice Premier He Lifeng.

IMF spokesperson Julie Kozack said that the next meetings would build on progress made by the roundtable in bringing together creditors and debtor countries to discuss ways to accelerate the debt restructuring process. While Ghana, Zambia, and Ethiopia are at different stages of the process, debt experts suggest that China’s agreement to provide financing assurances for Sri Lanka could provide fresh momentum for moving forward on those separate cases.

IMF officials are currently in Lusaka, Zambia, reviewing its economic reforms through April 5 to ensure timely consideration by the IMF’s board of the first review of Zambia’s new financing package approved in August. Kozack called on Zambia’s official creditors, which include China, to reach an agreement on a debt treatment in line with the financing assurances provided in July 2022, expressing hope that a suitable agreement would be reached soon.

Kozack added that the IMF was conducting technical work to prepare for talks on a potential program with Ethiopia. IMF officials were also working closely with Ghana, which is seeking financing assurances needed for the IMF to move forward with a staff agreement reached in December on a three-year $3 billion lending program.

“We’re calling on bilateral creditors to support Ghana’s effort to restore debt sustainability, form an official creditor committee, and deliver the necessary financing assurances as soon as possible,” she said.

Overall, the roundtable is intended to discuss ways to help countries in need of debt relief by bringing together creditors and debtor countries to find solutions.

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