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Queen Mary Global Policy Institute

Sovereign Debt - an agenda for the future

When: Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: 11 Rue de Constantine, 75007 Paris, France, Queen Mary University of London, 18.00-20.00 CET

The world is currently facing an unprecedented level of sovereign debt – and debt is continuing to pile up. The state of sovereign borrowing was critical prior to the pandemic, with several countries already facing limited fiscal space and increasing levels of debt, but the situation has deteriorated, tipping some economies over the edge.

Two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, the debt conundrum has deteriorated considerably. Belize, Ecuador, Suriname and Zambia defaulted on their debt, and other countries are close to joining ranks.  In Africa, external debt costs rose by 1.1% of GDP on average over 2010-2019, offsetting nearly two-thirds of the average increase in tax levels over this period. The impact of the pandemic and the ensuing inflation resulting from world conflict will further increase debt-servicing costs.

In this roundtable, a group of international experts representing some of the key players involved in sovereign debt discussed key areas requiring further attention in order to draft an agenda to shape the future of sovereign borrowing and management.

Topics of discussion included:

  • The status and causes of the debt accumulation problem
  • The importance of debt management as a preventative measure
  • Initiatives put in place to address the causes and consequences of the debt problem
  • How the lack of transparency has hindered accurate debt sustainability assessments and investment analyses
  • Policy lessons critical to successful debt management


  • Welcome Remarks - Fatos Koc (Head of Public Debt Management at the OECD)
  • Keynote presentation - Vera Songwe (Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa)
  • Roundtable discussion
    • Moderator - Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal (Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London)
    • [Academia] - Prof. Paola Subacchi (Queen Mary Global Policy Institute)
    • [Bilaterals] - William Roos (Co-Chair of the Paris Club)
    • [Financial Advisors] – Ms. Anne-Laure Kiechel (Managing Director, Global Sovereign Advisory)
    • [Legal Advisors] – Mr. Amir Jahanguiri (Partner, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP)
    • [Policy Makers] – Mr. Olivier Pognon (Director and CEO of the African Legal Support Facility)
  • Concluding remarks - Federico Bonaglia (Deputy Director, OECD Development Centre)

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