AfDB supports 22 fragile countries in debt management


African Development Bank AFDBThe African Development Bank Group has initiated training programmes to assist 22 transitioning or fragile African countries in effectively managing their debt.

According to a statement from the continental bank on Thursday, the programme, which is on the platform of the Public Finance Management Academy for Africa, an initiative of the bank group’s African Development Institute, kicked off the maiden edition of the PFMA Spotlight on Public Debt Management in Transition States—a two-day policy dialogue on sustainable debt management tailored to the needs of Africa’s 22 most vulnerable countries in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

It noted that the programme would help countries build their institutional capacity to better manage debt and achieve the financial resilience needed for development.

Ethiopia’s Minister of State for Finance and Economic Cooperation, Semereta Sewasew, said that while there had been positive strides in debt management on the continent, debt challenges, and vulnerabilities persist, especially in most transition countries.

She noted that those countries faced a wide range of political, economic, security and environmental challenges;

“I am pleased that the African Development Bank has designed this training programme to help develop and strengthen the capacity of these countries to manage their debt more prudently, to make their debt more productive, and restore resilience, stability, and growth to their economies.

“Our government will continue to work with the African Development Bank and support its programmes not only for Ethiopia but for the entire continent, especially in improving debt management, transparency, and sustainability,” Sewasew said.

The AfDB’s Deputy Director General for East Africa and Director-General designate for Nigeria, Abdul Kamara, said the training was part of the implementation of the bank’s special project – Strengthening the Capacity of Transition States for Effective Management and Mitigation of Debt Distress Risks.

He added that the project was being implemented from April 2023 to March 2026, for 22 transition countries in Africa under the bank’s transition support facility.

“We believe that together we can do even more for our countries,” Kamara said. “We expect that at the end of these two days, participants will have, among other things, an understanding of best-practice solutions tailored to their particular debt management circumstances,” he said.

The Director of the African Development Institute, Eric Ogunleye, said: “African transition countries should not be mere loan takers– they are disadvantaged. Hence, they need to be empowered to contract, negotiate and use loans to improve the quality of life of their citizens.”

Public debt vulnerability remains a persistent challenge for Africa.

According to the International Monetary Fund, of the 54 African countries, 38 low-income countries are classified as being either in debt distress, with high debt distress, or with moderate debt distress and 23 of them are transition states.

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