Launch of the report: “Economic Development in Africa: Debt Sustainability: Oasis or mirage?

on 27 September 2004 - 10.00 am at the International Press Center (IPC), Room “Passage” (Ground floor) Résidence Palace, 155 rue de la Loi, Wetstraat, 155 1040 Brussels

Mr. Kamran KOUSARI, UNCTAD Special Coordinator for Africa, will present the new UNCTAD report and answer to your questions.

Despite recent initiatives to reduce Africa’s debt burden, particularly in the context of the HIPC Initiative, African countries will continue to find themselves in an unsustainable debt situation. Criticisms have been raised with respect to the criteria applied in the debt sustainability analysis, and the fact that several more debt-distressed African countries are not eligible for debt relief reflects the lack of objectivity in the eligibility criteria. While there are no absolute measures of debt sustainability, the UNCTAD study poses a number of questions which would need to be addressed: What level of debt is sustainable for countries in which the vast majority of the population lives on under $1 a day per person? Have debt sustainability criteria been based on internationally recognized benchmarks such as those of the MDGs, or on objectively and theoretically verifiable criteria? What is the relationship between Africa’s total external debt stocks, and the actual amount of debt serviced? Is complete debt write-off a “moral hazard” or a “moral imperative”?

Please note that the report is under EMBARGO: The contents of this report must not be quoted or summarized in the press, on radio, or on television, before 30 September 2004

Download the report in PDF format here:

The same day at 1.30 PM, Mr. Kamran KOUSARI, will take the floor on “Is Africa's debt sustainable?”

In front of the Belgian Parliamentarian Special Commission on Globalization. Non governmental organizations and media representatives are also invited. Address: Belgian Parliament - 7 rue de Louvain-Leuvensestraat, 7 1009 Brussels.

The Speech will be delivered in English. Dutch and French translations will be provided.

Mr. Kamran KOUSARI (second from the left) addressing the Belgian Parliament
Senator Pierre Galand (in the middle) chaired the meeting (Photo: RUNIC)

For more information about the report please contact:

UNCTAD Press Office, +41 22 917 5828, , ; or K. Kousari, Special Coordinator for Africa, +41 22 917 5800,; or RUNIC Brussels 32.2.788.84.84 Fax. 32.2. 788..84.85

For the briefing in front of the Belgian parliamentarian commission, please contact Eric Gardinael or RUNIC Brussels