ITALY will use its forthcoming presidency of the Group of 20 major global economies to try to secure further debt relief for African states, a senior Italian diplomat has promised.
Italy takes over the annual rotating presidency of the G20 on December 1 and will look to build on a deal struck by major international creditors in April that was aimed at relieving the world’s poorest nations of debt payments.
“Every further move, due to the diversity of the G20 membership, is not going to be so easy, but we will work in order to achieve a good result,” said Pietro Benassi, diplomatic advisor to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Benassi, who is helping to draw up Italy’s G20 agenda, told a conference that “outreach to Africa” would be one of the priorities. “Debt relief must represent one of the deliverables of the G20 and we will do our best to get it,” he said.
Policymakers, analysts and investors have warned that African countries face a looming debt crisis and will need more long-term help than the latest G20 debt plan offers.
Around 40% of sub-Saharan African countries were in or at risk of debt distress even before this year, while Zambia became the continent’s first pandemic-era default last Friday. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.