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Should Debt in the Developing World be Cancelled?

31 May 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
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Chatham House, London

Participants

Tim Jones, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, Jubilee Debt Campaign
Pamella McLaren, Adviser and Head, Debt Management Unit, Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat
Ann Pettifor, Director, Prime Economics

Chair: Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian

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Overview

Wealthy countries and international financial institutions have taken action to relieve debt burdens in many of the world’s poorest countries through the ‘Heavily Indebted Poor Country’ (HIPC) scheme and the ‘Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative’ (MDRI). Debt cancellation often enables governments in poor countries to increase key public spending in areas such as health and education. However, debt burden still remains to be a problem for many developing countries for a number of reasons. For example, some countries were excluded from the original HIPC deal and many countries still spend a significant portion of their resources servicing their debt and re-accumulating new debts.

In light of the absence of an international process in place for dealing with government debt crisis, panellists will discuss the pros and cons of relieving debt burdens. How successful have HIPC and MDRI been and should they be replicated in other countries? What considerations should debtors and creditors make when creating new loans? And how can transparency in debt management be accomplished?

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