9:30—11:00 AM
Center for Global Development
2055 L St, NW
- Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

Debt in Low-Income Countries: Where Do We Go from Here?


Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Sean Nolan, Deputy Director, Strategy and Policy Review, International Monetary Fund

Anna Gelpern, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics and Professor of Law, Georgetown Law 
Mark Plant, Director of Development Finance and Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Some of the world’s poorest countries run the risk of building up a debt pile too high for their economies to support, according to the latest IMF report. The Center for Global Development will host the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to discuss the causes for the debt build up and possible ways forward at the launch of Macroeconomic Developments and Prospects in Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) – 2018. This is the fourth annual report in a series by the IMF that looks at trends and socioeconomic indicators of LIDCs. Key findings from the 2018 report and some questions to be discussed include:
  • Growth improved broadly across LIDCs in 2017, but output growth in commodity exporters continues to lag behind levels achieved in 2010-14. How can this momentum be maintained and what are the risks to more favorable outlook?
  • There has been a broad-based weakening of fiscal positions in LIDCs in recent years, with fiscal deficits widening in some 70 percent of LIDCs between 2010-14 and 2017. Has this translated into more productive investment? What has been the impact on the financial sector?
  • Debt burdens and vulnerabilities have risen significantly since 2013 in many LIDCs, reflecting a mix of factors including exogenous shocks and loose fiscal policies. What are the risks of debt distress becoming an endemic problem?
  • The composition of public debt in LIDCs continues to shift from traditional sources towards non-Paris Club bilateral lenders, commercial external debt, and domestic debt. What challenges does this pose for developing countries and their creditors going forward?

The event will open with remarks from IMF Deputy Managing Director Tao Zhang before moving into a panel discussion moderated by Center for Global Development’s Director of Development Finance and Senior Policy Fellow, Mark Plant. 

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