Ex-President Mahama advocates reinstitution, extension of Debt Service Initiative for debt-strapped countries

Former President John Mahama has advocated the reinsti­tution and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to afford Ghana and other debt-strapped countries some limited fiscal respite.

Delivering a lecture at the Cha­tham House in United Kingdom yesterday, he also called for the expansion of the Common Frame­work for Debt Treatment beyond the DSSI to help African countries access debt restructuring tools and mechanisms.

The DSSI is a global initiative set up by the Group of Twenty (G20), a forum for international economic cooperation, in May 2020, to help countries concen­trate their resources on fighting the pandemic and safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of millions of the most vulnerable people.

Established, upon the recom­mendation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, 48 out of 73 eligible countries participated in the initiative before it expired at the end of December 2021.

From May 2020 to December 2021, the initiative suspended $12.9 billion in debt-service pay­ments owed by participating coun­tries to their creditors, according to the latest estimates.

Former President Mahama spoke on the theme “Africa’s Strategic Priorities and Global Role”, at the hybrid lecture series that afforded him the opportunity to discuss his ideas on the key economic and governance reforms required for economic stability and prosperity across Africa.

His advocacy comes at a time the government is racing against time to get 80 per cent participa­tion in the domestic debt exchange programme in order to reach debt sustainability for support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Expressing worry over how eco­nomic mismanagement and other factors had derailed Africa’s devel­opment especially Ghana, which was doing well about a decade ago, he said the continent was endowed with natural resources and the potential to build back.

As part of solutions to Africa’s return to growth trajectory, he repeated his call for an African version of a Marshal Plan and ap­plauded the Global Gateway Pro­gramme of the European Union that seeks to mobilise 300 billion Euros over the next seven years for infrastructure in Africa and the rest of the developing world.

Despite the current situation on the continent and in Ghana, he urged foreign investors to give up but continue to collaborate with Africa countries to rise again.

“I invite you to look favourably at Ghana again because there is hope ahead! I also urge you to partner Africa as we confront the challenges posed by climate change, emerging diseases, terror­ism, and cybercrimes to build a safer world.

“Our borders are borderless be­cause of globalisation. Therefore, we must stand in support of one another. As we look into the near future with optimism, there are in­stant solutions that must be found to the crippling economic crisis, which has left a dark pall hanging over Ghana now,” he said.

Former President Mahama said Africa needed to build stronger institutions to address institutional and political decay by prioritising the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Africa.

Touching on the recent COVID-19 Expenditure Audit which revealed several infractions, he called for forensic audit into the receipts and expenditure, adding that it should be extended to other countries in Africa to restore investor confidence.

With Ghana’s next elections about two years way, he said, the National Democratic Congress, was ready to rescue the country from its current economic crisis.


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