World Bank issues dire warning, urging immediate overhaul of G20 debt relief program

Former Duke University professor Indermit Gill to be appointed Chief Economist of the WorldBank and Senior Vice President for Development Economics. Among his many contributions, he introduced the concept of middle income trap for developing countries.
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The chief economist emphasized common framework, established in 2020, is failing to inject fresh funds into the world’s most impoverished nations

A senior official at the World Bank has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the debt relief mechanism for the world’s poorest countries, calling for a significant overhaul.

Despite the existence of the common framework since 2020, only a handful of countries have sought relief through it, leading Gill to question its efficacy and the reluctance of countries to participate due to limited access to financial markets and insufficient debt relief programs.

In an interview with The Guardian during the bank’s spring meetings in Washington, Gill emphasized the urgent need for acknowledgment and reform. He criticized the common framework for its inability to meet the expectations set by leaders, likening attempts to salvage it to futile endeavors.

Gill also highlighted the inadequacy of the common framework’s secretariat, the Paris Club, in addressing the interests of major creditors like China, which is not a member of the club.

Gill pointed out key weaknesses of the common framework, including the delayed involvement of private bondholders in debt negotiations. He advocated for learning from past strategies, citing the Nicholas Brady plan from the 1980s as a model for systematic debt relief.

Speaking to the Guardian News, Gill said, “We have to recognize the problems. The common framework won’t deliver what leaders say it will. They are saying: ‘This horse is not dead yet, so let’s just keep whipping it.’”

Furthermore, Gill expressed skepticism about the global economy’s trajectory, particularly for low-income countries facing substantial debt burdens. He emphasized the detrimental impact of debt payments on essential sectors like healthcare and education, calling for sustainable solutions to alleviate financial strain.

While the IMF takes a more positive view of the common framework’s impact, Gill remains cautious, stressing the urgent need for effective debt restructuring to support struggling nations’ path towards sustainability.

A majority of developing countries are currently debt distressed and the G20 common framework is failing them in a big way. This in turn is reversing years, if not decades of developmental gains made by the global south. It is also leading many to lose trust in global institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

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