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Debt relief must deliver on ambitions

The IMF and WB are calling on the G20 to support debt relief for impoverished countries in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. But the institutions must break with the past to ensure debt relief fulfils its purpose. The COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional crisis and potentially implies devastating legacy impacts for many impoverished countries. Global policy responses to deal with the economic fallout must therefore break with precedent and also ensure a reinforcement of longer-term development priorities. The call for a moratorium on official bilateral debt by the Bretton Woods Institutions is welcome, and could be a significant measure in securing fiscal breathing space for countries battling against the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. But for some countries, such a standstill may not ...

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COVID-19 and debt in the global south: Protecting the most vulnerable in times of crisis I

Daniel Munevar

26 Mar 2020 12:44:49

This is the first part of a blog series covering the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable countries in the global south. Part 1 analyses the impact of debt burdens on health services. Part 2 discusses how the economic crisis will affect countires in the global south. Part 3 highlights the degree of vulnerability of countries in the global south to the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 4 provides a discussion on policy responses to tackle the risks posed by the pandemic.  Download the methodological annex here The human and economic toll of COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the fragility of our globalised society. Countries’ ability to contain the outbreak across borders is being defined by their capacity to provide effective protection to the most vulnerable. Until now, more than 98 per cent of ...

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Lebanon’s sovereign default: Turning misfortunes into opportunities

Admin

20 Mar 2020 14:46:32

This is a guest blog on behalf of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) by Dr Hassan Sherry, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Economics, Lebanese American University A crisis unfolds For the first time in its one hundred year history,  Lebanon has defaulted on its debt after its government opted not to repay a US$ 1.2 billion Eurobond that reached maturity on 9 March. Although it can be difficult to predict sovereign defaults, the decision comes as no surprise. Lebanon has been marching down an unsustainable economic path for almost a decade now.  Prime Minister Hassan Diab put the country's total public debt at approximately US$ 90 billion or 170 per cent of GDP – the world’s largest debt-to-GDP ratio after Japan and Greece. The unsustainable debt figures are attributed ...

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COVID-19 and debt in the global south: Protecting the most vulnerable in times of crisis IV

Daniel Munevar

19 Mar 2020 12:06:46

Prepared by Daniel Munevar and Mark Perera This is the fourth part of a blog series covering the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable countries in the global south. Part 1 analyses the impact of debt burdens on health services. Part 2 discusses how the economic crisis will affect countires in the global south. Part 3 highlights the degree of vulnerability of countries in the global south to the COVID-19 epidemic. Part 4 provides a discussion on policy responses to tackle the risks posed by the epidemic.  COVID-19 poses a serious set of threats to Low-Income Economies (LIEs). The most vulnerable in the global south will require substantial support from the international community to tackle the public health and economic risks posed by the epidemic. As we touched upon in the previous ...

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Using the debt crisis to advance donor-driven economic policies: The case of Ghana

Gino Brunswijck

17 Mar 2020 12:38:11

On International Women’s Day several Ghanaian CSOs took a stand for improving gender equality in the labour market, education and health services. For example, health CSOs underlined in a manifesto presented to a Minister that “gender inequality still exists in health service delivery, and women’s rights are continuously being infringed on, as they include those living with disabilities and mental health issues lack access to quality health care”. However, Ghana will have to address these challenges while its debt is snowballing.  A growing body of research shows how, in the previous decade external debt service has grown dramatically in low- and middle-income countries, diverting public resources away from essential services such as health and education. At the same time, ...

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COVID-19 and debt in the global south: Protecting the most vulnerable in times of crisis III

Daniel Munevar

16 Mar 2020 11:55:35

This is the third part of a blog series covering the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable countries in the global south. Part 1 analyses the impact of debt burdens on health services. Part 2 discusses how the economic crisis will affect countires in the global south. Part 3 highlights the degree of vulnerability of countries in the global south to the COVID-19 epidemic. Part 4 provides a discussion on policy responses to tackle the risks posed by the epidemic.  Eurodad analysis of the interplay between health, trade and financial factors shows the high degree to which countries in the global south are vulnerable to a systemic crisis. Within a sample of 69 LIEs, it is estimated that at least 84 per cent have vulnerable health care systems (58 countries)1 ; 80 per cent present trade vulnerabilities ...

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COVID-19 and debt in the global south: Protecting the most vulnerable in times of crisis II

Daniel Munevar

13 Mar 2020 12:58:41

This is the second part of a blog series covering the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable countries in the Global South. Part 1 analyses the impact of debt burdens on health services. Part 2 discusses how the economic crisis will affect countires in the global south. Part 3 highlights the degree of vulnerability of countries in the global south to the COVID-19 epidemic. Part 4 provides a discussion on policy responses to tackle the risks posed by the epidemic. Download the methodological annex here Healthcare challenges posed by COVID-19 to countries in the global south are heightened by economic factors. Even if these countries manage to avoid large outbreaks, they will still be exposed to the economic fallout of the epidemic, putting them at risk of a debt crisis. Available estimates suggest ...

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A call to action for CSOs: Stop the new debt crisis from derailing women’s rights

Iolanda Fresnillo

09 Mar 2020 10:18:20

Iolanda Fresnillo, Eurodad and Verónica Serafini, LATINDADD This blog outlines the serious barriers women are facing due to the unfurling debt crisis in the global south. As debt payments increase, resources are diverted from public services investments and towards the outsourcing and privatisation of these services. This poses a threat to women’s rights and equality. CSOs across the world can help tackle this injustice, but, as this blog states, a greater gender focus for our actions is essential.  An unfurling debt crisis The last decade has seen an unprecedented increase in debt levels globally, including in the global south. This new “wave of debt” is – according to the World Bank - “the largest, fastest and most broad-based increase in debt” we’ve witnessed in “emerging ...

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What the new data on private sector instruments doesn’t tell us

Nerea Craviotto

04 Mar 2020 13:59:25

By Cecilia Caio (Development Initiatives) and Nerea Craviotto (Eurodad). Originally published on Devex For the first time, the full data for 2018 official development assistance, or ODA, which was released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee this February, included data on aid spending through private sector instruments, or PSIs, according to the interim rules agreed on by DAC members in December 2018. This agreement was a key, albeit controversial, step that is blurring the boundary between ODA and commercial transactions. While the publication of this new data is welcomed, it’s important to get the rules on reporting spending through private sector instruments right from the beginning. The current total represents a limited ...

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European Parliament hearing on aid effectiveness

Eurodad

07 Feb 2020 13:01:07

On 22 January, Eurodad Director Jean Saldanha spoke as part of the public hearing on aid effectiveness held by the European Parliament Committee on Development. The hearing will feed into a forthcoming report by DEVE Member Tomas Tobé that comes at a crucial moment as negotiations for the EU’s multiannual budget are ongoing and the EU is debating the future of its development finance architecture. Acknowledging the positive and proactive role the European Parliament has played in keeping development effectiveness on the EU’s agenda, Eurodad focused on the key role of ODA as a vital and irreplaceable resource for eradicating poverty and tackling inequalities. Development effectiveness principles are key to unleash the catalytic potential of ODA, while recent assessments show ...