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MPs probe debt crisis in low-income nations

9 June 2022

International Development Committee takes evidence from a range of experts on the challenges arising from international debt owed by low-income countries. Some have described the situation as a “debt crisis”. The committee’s evidence session will take place at 2.30pm on Tuesday, 14 June 2022 in The Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster.

Purpose of the Session

According to the International Monetary Fund, more than half of the world’s poorest countries are in ‘debt distress’ - meaning they experience difficulties in repaying their debts. The current levels of debt in low-income countries have been exacerbated by the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and high levels of inflation (which in turn have led to higher interest rates on debt).

MPs hope to use the session to understand the scale of the debt crisis, the impact that debt can have on low-income countries, and to explore lessons learned from debt relief initiatives.

The UK government is active in global debt relief initiatives, but many think these moves have not met expectations. The lack of participation in debt relief schemes by the private sector (which holds a significant proportion of low-income country debt) is frequently cited as a major obstacle to such schemes. The actions of private creditors are a focus of the committee’s inquiry.

The first panel of witnesses is designed to explore what role the UK government should play in responding to the crisis - for example, whether the country should introduce legislation to force the private sector to participate in debt relief schemes.

The second panel will consider the impact of high levels of debt in Africa and South Asia. Here, MPs will also seek to understand in more detail the links between debt and climate issues.


At 2.30pm

  • Tim Jones, Head of Policy, Debt Justice, a charity and lobby group
  • Dr Stephanie Blankenburg, Head of the Debt & Development Finance Branch of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance for the Institute of International Finance, the US-based trade group for the global financial services industry

At 3.40pm

  • Jason R Braganza, Executive Director, African Forum on Debt and Development, an organisation working for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty
  • Mae Buenaventura, Debt Justice Program Manager with the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, an alliance of campaigning organisations
  • Paul Steele, Chief Economist, International Institute for Environment and Development, a research organisation

Further information

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