Debt Relief and Africa During COVID-19: the global response

Hosted by LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response

Online public event


Mma Amara Ekeruche

Mma Amara Ekeruche

Professor Anna Gelpern

Professor Anna Gelpern

Eric LeCompte

Eric LeCompte

Dr Shirley Yu

Dr Shirley Yu

Dr David Luke

Dr David Luke



Professor Tim Allen

Professor Tim Allen

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated government fiscal policies across the globe, and economies worldwide are heading into historic recessions.

Countries’ capabilities to address new challenges are increasingly stretched, yet efforts to tackle a health crisis in a globalised world remain highly interconnected. As low-income countries struggle to provide robust spending plans to support the population, calls have risen for the implementation of immediate debt relief from bilateral, multilateral and private creditors to African countries. Africa’s external debt payments have almost doubled in recent years, forming the backdrop of a reoccurring conversation around the debt’s sustainability at a time when money is urgently needed for domestic investments. Now the COVID-19 pandemic makes this discussion more urgent than ever.

Multilateral institutions such as the IMF have recently announced sweeping debt relief packages for the continent, with the intention of facilitating governments to address the impact of the pandemic. However, questions remain on whether soliciting debt relief packages for the continent will be enough to sufficiently mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic, and if debt relief is pursued, then how should this be managed and under what conditions? Experts on foreign direct investment, development economics, international finance and macroeconomics will share their analysis of the situation in the face of the current crisis.

Mma Amara Ekeruche (@Mmakeruch) is a Research Associate at CSEA. She holds a Masters in Economic Policy from University College London (UCL), United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Anna Gelpern is a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, is professor of law and Agnes N. Williams Research Professor at Georgetown University.

Eric LeCompte (@Eric_LeCompte) is an American commentator on politics, finance and religion. He serves on a working group with the UN Conference on Trade and Development. He is the current executive director of Jubilee USA Network.

Shirley Yu (@shirleyzeyu) is Senior Visiting Fellow in the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE and an Asia fellow with the Ash Center of Harvard Kennedy School. She has a Ph.D. in political economy from China’s Peking University, and a Master’s degree in Government from Harvard University. She has published three books in Chinese, including On China, by Ambassadors, and the Rise of the RMB and the Fall of the Yen. She also served as mentor for Cherie Blair’s Foundation for International Women.

David Luke (@DavidLukeTrade) is coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa with the rank of a director at the Commission. He is responsible for leading ECA's research, policy advisory services, training and capacity development on inclusive trade policies and in particular the boosting intra-African trade and the continental free trade area initiatives. Prior to joining ECA in 2014, he served as UNDP trade policy adviser in Southern Africa and Geneva and also as Senior Economist and Chief of Trade at the Organization for African Unity/African Union Commission, and as an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

Tim Allen is the inaugural Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, and is a Professor in Development Anthropology in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

This event is part of LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response.

COVID-19 represents an enormous challenge for the social sciences to help governments and non-governmental organisations respond to the economic and societal consequences of the pandemic. Part of LSE's response to this challenge is a series of online public events that will take place over the Summer Term.

Why not visit the School of Public Policy COVID-19 Resource Centre.

This event in the series has been organised by the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.

The Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (@AfricaAtLSE) promotes independent academic research and teaching; open and issue-oriented debate; and evidence-based policy making. The Centre connects social sciences disciplines and works in partnership with Africa to bring African voices to global debates.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19


A copy of Mma Amara Ekeruche's PowerPoint presentation is available for download: Debt Relief and Africa During COVID-19: the global response.

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