Forum claims African countries not getting better deals from G20 common framework


The G20 common framework must be relooked at as it does not provide African countries an opportunity to negotiate better debt deal negotiations.

The framework must also take into consideration the debt cancellation option, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) through its Policy Analyst and Advocacy, Joshua Shem, said.

Shem in an interview in Lusaka on Thursday further insisted that Zambia as an African country needed to be careful with the debt restructuring process it entered into with the G20 common framework to ensure that it was not taken as a rider.

Zambia last month clinched a US$6.3 billion debt treatment deal with its official creditors.

He said AFRODAD’s take was that developed countries had always come with take it or leave it notions, making it difficult for affected countries to assess the situation in terms of the debt repayment.

Read more: Forum x-rays Zambia’s post-debt restructuring era

“The G20 common framework must be relooked at. Actually, the G20 framework is neither common nor a framework because it will never work for the African countries unless it is relooked in a way that African countries will be given chance to sit on the table and provide their debt analysis in terms of how they are able to repay.

“Most important thing again is to take into consideration the debt cancellation. This was there before and we are calling for developed partners to consider this because in the long run Africans do not want to be beggars. They want to service their expenditures so we are able to in case our domestic resource mobilisation,” Shem said.

This, he stressed, must come with the strategies that was going to help the governments and at the same time, not pressurise the common citizen to pay more tax in order to repay the debt.

He pointed out that the tax base should be increased in a way that was going to allow for the services, including health and education, to be taken into consideration during the budget making process.

In Zambia’s case, Shem was of the view that the time period of debt repayment did not make sense.

According to Zambia’s agreement, its external debt maturity would be extended to 20 years, with a 3-year holiday.

But Shem stated that the period given was not for it to stabilise but to collect more revenue to repay the debt.

“We believed that with the African voice that talks about equality from the global debt restructuring perspective, then we are going to be treated as equal partners in this talk.

“So much as Zambia is in talks with the G20 countries on the debt restructuring process, there is need to look on to the process itself so that Zambia is not taken as a rider,” he said.

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