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African Union (AU)

AU workshop on Africa's External Debt

African Union (AU)

1 April 2005

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Introduction

  1. The Commission of the African Union organized a Workshop on Africa's external debt problem in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from March 21-22, 2005 to explore ways and means of finding a lasting solution to it. The conclusions and recommendations of the Workshop would be discussed by a group of Government experts before being considered by African Ministers of Economy and Finance during a meeting scheduled to take place in Dakar, Senegal, from May 5-7, 2005. If adopted by the African ministers, the recommendations of the Workshop will be the basis for a common African position that will be taken by the Summit of African Heads of State and Government to be held in Syrte, Libya, in July 2005.


  2. The Workshop was attended by experts from the African Union Commission; Member Sates of the Contact Group on Debt; the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); the African Development Bank (ADB); the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI); the Regional Economic Communities, including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); civil society organizations; and the academia. The list of participants is attached as Annex 1.
Official Opening

  1. Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union, opened the workshop, on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. In his opening statement (Annex II), he welcomed and proposed the issues for discussion. The Commissioner pointed out that the issue of Africa’s external debt is one of the major concerns of the African Union Commission and that it has been recognized as one of the major obstacles to human development with Africa’s external debt being the most unsustainable in the world compared to that of other developing countries. He further pointed out that several solutions had been put forward at both domestic and international levels to enable Africa to get out of its indebtedness. However, the impact of these solutions had been minimal. To this effect, he called for the cancellation of Africa’s external debt.


  2. The Commissioner also emphasized on the need for the workshop to come up with concrete recommendations, which will be taken to the meeting of Ministers of Economy and Finance scheduled to be held in May 2005. He further pointed out that discussions and recommendations of the meeting of Ministers of Economy and Finance would be submitted to the July 2005 African Union Summit.




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