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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Sudan’s Bumpy Debt Road Will Run Through Where? Vienna?

This is a joint post with Ross Thuotte.

Sudan’s crippling debt burden can be compared to an enormous onion – the story gets more and more complex as you begin peeling back the various layers. Yesterday, we wrote about Sudan’s two largest creditors – Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But, there are countless other surprises beneath the surface. Here are three more: Austria, Denmark, and Belgium. These are not countries that one would automatically associate with Sudan. But, they are some of its largest creditors – collectively holding roughly $4.5 billion in claims.

Who Are Sudan’s Two Biggest Creditors? And Why Is It Something to Worry About?

This is a joint post with Ross Thuotte.

Two countries alone hold over 25 percent of Sudan’s crippling $35 billion debt burden. I’ll give you three guesses at who they might be. China? United States? France? All would be reasonable choices. But, they also would be wrong. In fact, Sudan’s two largest creditors are Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Sudan owes the Kuwaiti government roughly $6 billion and the Saudi Government over $3 billion. Despite a flurry of recent loans, China is only number five on the list. These rankings represent more than monetary values owed – rather, they illustrate who will have the most important voices around the debt workout table when the time comes.

A New Tool for Squeezing the Regime in Cote d’Ivoire…and Preventing Odious Obligations

This is a joint post with Cindy Prieto.

As the Cote d’Ivoire standoff moves into Day Ten, pressure is mounting on Laurent Gbagbo who lost the election to Alassane Ouattara but refuses to stand down. The African Union and ECOWAS have suspended the country, and the United States and Europe have each threatened Gbagbo with financial sanctions, asset freezes, and travel bans unless he relents.

As cash becomes scarce and the junta more desperate, Gbagbo and his inner circle might try to quickly borrow money or start a fire sale. This would not only provide fuel for potential conflict, but also saddle the Ouattara government with new debts once they get in the seat. One additional way of squeezing Gbagbo and avoiding this outcome is contract sanctions, as proposed in the recent report of CGD’s Prevention of Odious Debt Working Group led by John Williamson, Michael Kremer, and Seema Jayachandran.

Sudan – Southern Secession, Oil, and Debt Relief

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post.

Next week, President Obama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and other global leaders will meet with Sudanese leadership to discuss the upcoming referendum. The stakes are huge. In January, southern Sudanese will vote on whether to secede and launch a new, independent country. It’s hard to imagine them not supporting the breakaway vote given their decades’ long fight for independence. Roughly 2 million people died in that struggle. The multi-million dollar question is – what will Khartoum do? Will they let the referendum happen? Will it be fair and transparent? If so, will they respect the results? The meeting next week will grapple with these critical issues.

Clearly, Khartoum has a lot of lose.

Liberia’s Debt Relief Party

This week, Liberians celebrated in the streets – faces painted, drums blaring, and dancing with abandon.  They’re not rejoicing over some recent triumph by the Liberian soccer team or a local festival.  The streets of Monrovia were overflowing because of debt relief.  That’s right, debt relief.  On Tuesday, Liberia secured nearly $5 billion in irrevocable debt relief from the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and bilateral creditors.  It’s a massive sum

Fresh Ideas for Haiti Begin to Take Hold

Following the devastating earthquake in January, CGD experts offered fresh ideas on how the U.S. and the international community could help Haiti rebuild, particularly through non-aid channels. Several recent developments in the U.S. legislative branch reflect or build upon these ideas:

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