8:30—10:30 AM EDT

Financing Low-Income Countries Towards Realistic Aspirations and Concrete Actions in a Post-COVID World

About the Event

Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the narrative on financing progress towards these goals in low-income countries (LICs) and select lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) has been dominated by a focus on the desirable rather than the feasible. The need for more realism in assessing financing prospects has been underscored dramatically by the ongoing economic and social crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As all countries, including low-income countries, take steps to address the crisis and the resulting dislocations, it is imperative that they do so in ways that do not compromise their medium-term economic and social progress, as embodied in the SDGs.

This online conference, co-hosted by Masood Ahmed, CGD President and Marilou Uy, Director of the G-24, will take place in 2-hour segments over four days, Monday, October 5 through Thursday, October 8. The discussions will bring together three key strands of the discussion around the financing needs of LICs for the SDGs – debt sustainability, domestic resource mobilization, and private capital flows. The lens through which each of these issues will be examined is one of a global economy that has suffered its largest shock since the Great Depression. By examining the key challenges and opportunities in each of these areas, the conference aims to set the stage for a discussion of how low-income countries might still be able to mobilize financing in sufficient volumes as well as on reasonable terms in the coming five years to remain on track towards achieving the SDGs.

Conference Agenda

Debt Sustainability Panel

October 5th, 8:30 am - 10:30 am Washington DC time

[Click here to watch this panel]


  • Clemence Landers, Policy Fellow, CGD


  • Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director, Jubilee Debt Campaign


  • Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana
  • Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Institute of International Finance
  • Carmen Reinhart, Vice President, and World Bank Group Chief Economist

This panel will focus on addressing issues around debt sustainability, including how it should be characterized for LICs in light of the magnitude and likely length of the economic shock they currently confront. How does this characterization differ from current views of debt sustainability?

See here for the background paper.

Private Sector Panel

October 6th, 8:30 am - 10:30 am Washington DC time

[Click here to watch this panel]


  • Scott Morris, Director of the US Development Policy Initiative, Co-Director of Sustainable Development Finance, and Senior Fellow, CGD


  • Nancy Lee, Senior Policy Fellow, CGD


  • Samantha Attridge, Senior Research Fellow, ODI
  • Rita Babihuga-Nsanze, Chief Economist & Director, Africa Finance Corporation
  • Michael Atingi-Ego, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda

This panel will focus on addressing which of the constraints on private capital flows are likely to be binding going forward, and whether new constraints emerged due to the current crisis. What can development finance institutions (DFIs) of various types do to spur cross-border private financing flows in the short and medium-term?

See here for the paper.

Domestic Resource Mobilization Panel

October 7th, 8:30 am - 10:30 am Washington DC time

[Click here to watch this panel]


  • Mark Plant, Chief Operating Officer of CGD Europe, Co-Director of Development Finance, and Senior Policy Fellow, CGD


  • Sanjeev Gupta, Senior Policy Fellow, CGD


  • Seth Terkper, Former Minister of Finance of Ghana
  • Laura Wilson, Head of Tax Strategy and International Tax, FCDO
  • Vitor Gaspar, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF

This panel will focus on addressing the potential for LICs to increase their domestic revenue mobilization in light of the crisis. How might increases in domestic revenue be accomplished more efficiently and equitably?

See here for the paper.

Concluding Panel of High-Level Development Leaders

October 8th, 8:30 am - 10:30 am Washington DC time

[Click here to watch this panel]


  • Masood Ahmed, CGD President and Marilou Uy, Director of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G-24)


  • Sudhir Shetty, Non-Resident Fellow, CGD


  • H.E. Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of Ghana
  • Celya Pazarbasiouglu, Director of the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, IMF
  • Gargee Ghosh, President, Global Policy & Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • H.E. Ms. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria

This panel will feature a set of distinguished policymakers and experts discussing the main takeaways from the first three sessions with a view to reaching consensus on the way forward.

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