With Zambia’s recent default on debt repayment and global concern over pandemic-related economic impacts, the G20 meeting in Riyadh wrapped up Sunday with a commitment through June for the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to allow developing nations to defer debt payments.
“The coronovirus pandemic is not only the greatest health crisis of our time, but also a severe social and economic crisis. The pandemic has set back global efforts to eradicate poverty and narrow inequality,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, current chairman of the African Union.
“Our recovery from the crisis requires that we redouble our efforts to meet our global obligations as reflected in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – particularly our commitment to leave no-one behind and help those furthest behind first,” Ramaphosa added. “We need to ensure that appropriate, at-scale and additional finance is provided to developing countries, as well as technology transfer and capacity-building support.”
Some 46 of the world’s poorest countries have taken advantage of debt suspension, says the International Monetary Fund, with the G20 declaration confirming a total US$5.7 billion of 2020 debt service deferral so far. The IMF has warned of a finance gap for African nations alone that’s estimated at $345 billion through 2023.
“Given the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, the significant debt vulnerabilities and deteriorating outlook in many low-income countries, we recognize that debt treatments beyond the DSSI may be required on a case-by-case basis,” the G20 said in its declaration. The G20 nations also repeated calls for development banks and private lenders to support debt relief efforts.
Both Ramaphosa and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda attended the G20 virtual meetings hosted by Riyadh, the latter in his capacity with the African Union Development Agency (NEPAD).
Image: Presidency Rwanda