Activities undertaken by UNCTAD in support of Africa
A report on UNCTAD’s activities in support of Africa is prepared every year and presented to an executive session of the Trade and Development Board. The report provides an overview of research and analysis being undertaken by UNCTAD with regard to African development, as well as a summary of specific activities, including advisory services and technical cooperation, in each sector that falls under UNCTAD’s mandate.
Revisiting debt sustainability in Africa
The theme of the executive session is particularly important, given that the sovereign debt of several African countries has increased in recent years and is becoming a source of concern to policymakers, analysts and multilateral financial institutions.
While the continent's current debt ratios are manageable, the fact that debt levels are growing rapidly in several countries is worrisome and requires action to avoid a repeat of the African debt crisis of the 1980s.
Against a backdrop of falling commodity prices, a resurgent dollar and forecasts of higher global interest rates, the dangers of a new debt trap in Africa should not be ignored.
It is UNCTAD's contention that there are important lessons to be learned for African Governments in trying to balance the competing objectives of financing development spending and avoiding a new round of debt crises.
The main role of the panel will be to lay the ground for a broader discussion by participants on revisiting debt sustainability in Africa.
Questions to be addressed:
How should African countries balance the competing objectives of financing development spending and avoiding a new round of debt crises?
What lessons from Africa's past debt crises are of relevance to the current context?
What specific measures as part of the financing for development agenda to enhance debt sustainability should Africa and the international community adopt?
Given the changing composition of debt, what should African Governments, multilateral development banks and development partners do to avert the risk of another debt crisis?