Transcript of the April 2023 African Department Press Briefing

April 14, 2023



Director, African Department

International Monetary Fund


Senior Communications Officer

International Monetary Fund

MS. MOSSOT: Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to our viewers around the world, and welcome to the IMF in D.C. We are happy to welcome you for the Spring Meetings ’23. I’m Tatiana Mossot with the IMF Communications Department, your host for the Reginal Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa; and I’m pleased to introduce you to the IMF African Department Director, Abebe Selassie.

The Sub-Saharan Africa’s report is named the Big Funding Squeeze. Please, can you tell us more about where the region is standing from your team’s work perspectives, please?

MR. SELASSIE: Thank you, Tatiana. A very good morning to you all. First, let me thank you all for coming to the April, to this launch of the IMF’s regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s resilience is being severely tested. We project growth to decelerate to 2.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent last year; and an important factor influencing this outcome is the big funding squeeze their countries are facing. External market access has been sharply curtailed. Oversees development assistance continues to trend downward, and the region has seen a recent reduction in other investments also.

Sub-Saharan Africa is not alone, of course. There is a global slowdown in the region, as elsewhere, is feeling the effects of tighter monetary policy, the increased cost of living, and the strength of the dollar which has appreciated relative to many other currencies.

Our latest regional outlook finds that this big funding squeeze is hitting countries hard, and many countries are facing tough decisions when it comes to investing in crucial areas like health, education, infrastructure. This will not only impact them now but also in the years to come. As by 2040 or so, a third of new entrance, a new labor market entrance will be from Sub-Saharan Africa. Skilled educated workers will be vital to the health and stability of the global economy, but today’s funding squeeze may impact the region’s ability to provide them.

I’ve always said that this is the African century, but if measures are not taken to address this funding squeeze now, the region may be held back from developing its potential. Here at the IMF, we’re playing our part. As of last month, we had 21 lending arrangements with countries in the region, and we’ve still more programs under request and under discussion; and between 2020 and 2022, we provided more than $50 billion dollars through programs, emergency financing, and special drawing rights allocation. We also, of course, continue to provide capacity development, and technical assistant, and training to our members, and will continue to do so in the coming months.

In terms of policy priorities, we are flagging that there’s a need to first consolidate public finances and strengthen public finance management. This needs to rely on continued revenue mobilization that are management of fiscal risks and more proactive debt management.

In countries where debt levels are elevated and debt is clearly unsustainable, restructuring is going to be unavoidable, and a well-functioning debt resolution framework will be vital to create the required fiscal space.

A second priority is to contain inflation. The inflation rates are varied across the region but remains elevated much more so than we’ve seen it for many years now; and monetary policy needs to focus on keeping inflation firmly on a downward trajectory and make sure that it pertains to Central Bank’s target range.

Third, I think, is a need to allow, in those countries where exchange rates are flexible, the exchange rates to adjust while mitigating adverse effects on the economy.

And then, finally, climate change is, of course, increasingly, something that is weighing on policy makers in the region, on our people; and tackling this, including with support from the international community will be very, very important. The region is not a source of emissions, as you know but, rather, is at the receiving end of a lot of the climatic changes that have taken place and pursuing policies to help with climate adaptation and mitigation in a few cases where that is a challenge will be important going forward.

Let me stop here and take some questions. Thank you.

MS. MOSSOT: Thank you very much. We will now take your questions please. Let’s start with the first row. Julians was here. Can you please introduce yourself, your media, and one question, please? Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Thank you so much. Julian from Nairobi, Kenya, National Media Group. My question is regarding fuel subsidies in Kenya. Initially, there was an October 31st sunset date then it became December 31st, last year. Does the IMF actually have a deal with the Kenyan government as far as sunset date is concerned; and quickly, Tatiana, if I may, is Kenya one of the countries who you deem susceptible to debt restructuring whereby Eurobond maturing $2 billion dollars’ worth in June 2024? Thanks.

MR. SELASSIE: Thank you. On fuel subsidies, first, we always look at the country’s specific context in which fuel is being subsidized; and our general approach is to flag that this tends to be a regressive use of government spending in many countries. Regressive meaning that the benefits of such subsidies tend to accrue to richer segments of society a lot more than poorer segments of society; and, in a world where we still have elevated levels of poverty, elevated levels of development challenges, I’m not sure that this is best use of resources. And then we leave it up to the government, whether to sustain those policies or remove them, but what we ask, and I think what is important is that the cost of this fuel subsidy is rather than being left as a contingent liability and off-balance sheet is included in regular appropriation process so that the tradeoffs that the government is making is being clear.

Now, how governments do this, the extent of the fuel subsidies, of course, also varies with international market prices. So, that influences the timing of when governments remove or put or sustain fuel subsidies. A again with Kenya, I think what we’re asking is that whatever the subsidies the government wants to pursue, that it’s put on budget and made transparent.

On debt restructuring. I think, just really important, the mere fact that you have Euro bonds maturing in ’25 or ’26 does not mean that you need debt restructuring. In terms of how we assess debt restructuring meets debt sustainability, and we look at the whole panoply, of course, economic indicators, expectations on how those will evolve; and, importantly also, what kind of financing is available to rollover or to find other ways to repay this. It’s a combination of all of these things that allows us to figure out whether debt is sustainable or not.

MS. MOSSOT: Thank you. Next question.

MR. SELASSIE: Sorry, I should add ‑‑ and we do not, Kenya is not a country that we are expecting to do debt restructuring.

MS. MOSSOT: Thank you. Lady on the second row, please? If you can introduce yourself.

QUESTIONER: Hi. My name is (inaudible). I’m from [inaudible] newspaper in Nigeria. My question is Nigeria specific. Nigeria is actually planning to take away subsidies as well; and, recently, the World Bank has given Nigeria $800 million. Do you think this is something that’s sustainable? Is this a sustainable practice? Is IMF concerned about Nigeria’s indebtedness to ‑‑ and Sub-Saharan Africa’s indebtedness ‑‑ to China; and, also, lastly, please, does IMF have any recommended limits for debt to GDP ratio for African countries? Thank you.

MR. SELASSIE: On fuel subsidies, as I said earlier how and whether to subsidize and to what extent, honestly, is a varied, deeply domestic and deeply political question. If governments want to do that, that’s fine; but, we think, it’s suboptimal, as I said, for reasons I explained earlier that the benefits of subsidies tend to accrue to richer households. But if that’s what government is deciding, that’s fine. Removing them also, I think, is, of course, part of this political and domestic debate that needs to be had. We know, of course, in Nigeria that food subsidies eat up tremendous, tremendous amount of resources at the same time that the government doesn’t have resources to address the huge investment needs from, health, to education, to infrastructure; but this is a choice for Nigerian government, Nigerian civil society to make.

We have also heard the discussion that’s going on, the debate that’s going on whether that is ideal. We try and inform that debate with numbers, with best practices elsewhere and I think that’s our role; and look forward to whatever decision the government takes.

On debts, whether debt is sustainable or not, , is not dependent on just one number, one threshold but, rather, really a lot of ‑‑ you have to look at a lot of indicators to assess the trajectory, whether debt will be sustainable in the coming years or not. And, I think, so it’s really, when we make an assessment and we classify countries as being a moderate risk or a high risks, or we talk about vulnerabilities being elevated, it takes into account, what we think out of the kind of policies that the government is going to pursue; and, of course, certain assumptions about the global environment. The last several years has been full of shocks, so it has made countries’ ability, to bring debt under a sustainable trajectory more difficult but, they have been compensating for that also with stronger economic policies. For a country like Nigeria also, the future trajectory of its economy is going to depend on a whole host of variables ‑‑ the reforms that the government pursues, how effectively it uses the resources it has, the oil price trajectory. It is a combination of those factors that will determine the sustainability of Nigeria’s debt.

Right now, it looks manageable, but it is really also important, of course, and contingent on what policies will be pursued in the coming months and years.

MS. MOSSOT: We will go this side and we will come here. Can we give the mic to the second, third row, please, to the gentleman who is raising his hand? Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. My first question would be about ‑‑

MS. MOSSOT: First, can you introduce yourself and your media?

QUESTIONER: I am [inaudible] for Agence Ecofin, Cote d’Ivoire. My first question will be about inflation in Africa. You have encouraged Central Banks to continue tightening the monetary policies to fight inflation, yet, in Africa, inflation seems to be mainly imported. Although there has been a slight decline in the rate of inflation. Don’t you think that raising policy rates is an outdated solution in the context of our region? And the second question, a few days ago, eight OPEC countries announced a drastic cuts in their oil production; and given that, many countries of the region are oil producers, including Nigeria. What impact do you anticipate this decision will have in the short term, and on the economic revenues of the Sub-Saharan African countries? Thank you.

MR. SELASSIE: On the inflation challenge, again, this tends to be, of course, unless you are part of a monetary union, there’s a lot of variation in inflation, and also a country-specific assessment that has to be done on the causes of inflation. So, yes, to a significant degree, we have seen imported, the pressure on inflation has been imported, so if you’re an oil importing country, you’re facing higher international oil prices right now. And depending on the extent to which it’s being passed on, that’s a source of inflation. Similarly, food prices having been elevated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that also is a channel through which inflation has risen. But, as we look across the region, there are also countries where clearly, it’s domestic demand pressure or monetary policy having been loose in the recent past that is causing inflation. I think you have to look at the totality of those factors.

But increasingly, I think what we cannot say is, things like interest rates do not work –- raising interest rates do not work. Of course, they do because that’s the standard monetary policy response and our economies are now, more so than in the past I would say, a lot more influenced by the normal way in which monetary policy transmission works. I think raising interest rates is part of the answer to addressing inflation, but again, how you calibrate that depends on country-specific circumstances.

OPEC oil price increase as always in sub-Saharan Africa, it will be asymmetric. In general, it will be negative because I think out of the 45 countries, only about 8 are net-oil exporters, so those other things being equal -– whether you have subsidy or not, et cetera -– should benefit from higher oil prices. But for most other countries, it will be a source of negative shock. So, it will amplify imports, foreign exchange demand, and the marginals of inflation.

MS. MOSSOT: We received different questions on Ghana. Where are the Ghanaians reporters, please?

QUESTIONER: My name is George Wiafe from Joy FM in Accra, Ghana. Two quick ones. I want to find out from you, as we speak right now, what is the status of Ghana’s program? Having got the understanding that is has to go through the department, the African department before both slots, has [inaudible] for the country. Can you help us update us on that one? And in terms of the preconditions, the structures that should be put in place, has Ghana done what it is supposed to do to ensure the necessary structure reforms are implemented so that we don’t come back again to the Fund? This would be our seventeenth time at the Fund. Are you convinced about the ongoing structure reforms that Ghana is supposed to implement under this program? Thank you so much.

MR. SELASSIE: Thank you. On the status of the program with Ghana, we had reached staff-level agreement, as you know, last December. And we are now comfortable that all of the measures required for us to present the program to our Executive Board are complete, except for the required financing assurances from external creditors. We are very encouraged by the steps that the government has taken over the last several months since the program request. It’s been a very difficult time of course, very difficult, very significant, measures that have had to be taken, and the initial steps that the government has taken are very encouraging.

At the same time, what is important to recognize is the challenges that Ghana has are something that need to be addressed over the course of the program period over the next three, four years to bring the fiscal deficit to the level it requires. And underpinning that, the reforms that are needed, initiatives like revenue mobilization that are going to be really important to be done in a multi-year process. So, this is a really very important first step to reducing the macroeconomic imbalances Ghana faces in a durable. It is really the only way to move beyond having to rely on exceptional financing of the type that the IMF provides.

Again, to loop back to where I started, we’re very comfortable where –- with all the steps that Ghana has done, and that is why we are also urging creditors to step forward and provide the financing assurances needed for us to present the program to the Board as soon as possible. We are very optimistic and keeping fingers crossed this will happen in the next few weeks.

MS. MOSSOT: We will take two questions online because we have also some journalists connected, and we will go to Mozambique with [Ana Paula Pires from Lusa, and she’s asking, Mozambique was hit earlier this year by multiple shocks, natural disasters to join the instability in Notrte. What impact does the IMF foresee they might have?

MR. SELASSIE: Thanks. Earlier I mentioned about, the effects of climate change increasingly weighing on policy makers. I think Mozambique was hit twice by Cyclone Freddy, as well as of course Malawi and other countries in the region. And it shows, kind of, how dealing with such natural disasters is increasingly becoming very much part of the policy-making discussion that we’re having with governments.

In the case of Mozambique, of course, we are -– we have a team going out in a couple of weeks to –-in the context of a program review where the effects that this cyclone has had will be discussed. And, in the past also of course, when Cyclone Idai hit the country, we were moving forward with providing exceptional financing, and we’ll continue to support the country as needed to cope with this.

MS. MOSSOT: We have online Matthew Hill from Bloomberg.

QUESTIONER: I just wanted to ask, firstly, on Ethiopia. If you can give us any information about how much funding Ethiopia has requested from the IMF under the proposed program, and how feasible that quota could be looking at Ethiopia’s SDR quota? And then also, just related to timing as to when Ethiopia might reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF by?

MR. SELASSIE: Matt, as you know, I recuse myself from answering questions on Ethiopia because that’s my home country. We will have somebody, my colleague Annalisa Fedelino is available here and she’ll answer all the questions related to Ethiopia after I get off this stage.

MS. MOSSOT: We will organize a brief for Ethiopia right after the press conference. We remain online for one last question on South Africa from Hillary Joffe.

QUESTIONER: It’s Hillary Joffe here from Business Day in Johannesburg. I wanted to know, you’ve got a very, very low growth forecast for South Africa, very close to zero. How likely do you think it is that South Africa this year goes into recession, into negative growth, and what would cause that?

And may I just add to that, given the risks that you flagged in terms of raising capital, how likely is a capital stop, and would South Africa be one of the countries that could be affected if capital flows really stopped? Thanks very much.

MR. SELASSIE: Thanks Hillary. On the growth projection, it’s largely being influenced, of course, by the electricity production difficulties that the country’s having. I think that’s by far the most important influence in the projections that we have. Of course, the external environment being difficult is a factor also. I think 0.1 is the number we have. We think either thing being equal, probably the country will scrape through with a small expansion, but honestly, there’s a big confidence interval around that.

In terms of the financing squeeze, one of the great things about South Africa that has withstood it well over the years, of course, is the fact that it has deeper liquid financial markets, and the government almost entirely relies on this market to fund itself. So, that’s a source of quite a bit of strength for South Africa. In the past, global financial crisis, for example, in 2008/09, the country was subjected to a really big funding squeeze but managed it by allowing the exchange rate to move and relying on domestic markets. So, I think that is an important funding source that will, I think, see through both the government but also private markets who can also rely on this -– private companies that can rely on this market.

MS. MOSSOT: Thank you. Back to the audience. We have a reporter back in the room, he’s standing back in the room next to you. Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Hi, my name is Paul Shalala from Zambia. I work for Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. Just want to get an update on the IMF program that Zambia is running. I think the first installment came in last year, and Zambia is due for the second one. Just want to get an update, how is Zambia performing? Are we meeting the benchmarks, and what is the prospect in terms of the next installment?

MR. SELASSIE: Program performance in Zambia has really been very strong. I was with the Managing Director in January for a visit to the country, and we could see it with our eyes, how much effort the government had made. We heard also from the private sector and civil society about the generally better direction in which the economy is heading. We just had a team conclude the review and, it was very satisfied with the progress that has been made under the program. So, we hope to present the review to the Board as soon as the Memorandum of Understanding that Zambia is discussing with its creditors is signed.

We are again very hopeful that this can happen soon. There’s been a lot of questions our creditors have raised; the government has addressed these very robustly. We have an indication that there will be further discussions next week. As soon as that takes place and we have a decision, we will present our review to the Board.

MS. MOSSOT: We have the lady on the second row, here, please. Thank you.

QUESTIONER: Hi. Good morning. Thank you for taking my question. Kemi Osukoya from the Africa Bazaar Magazine. I have two questions. The title of this report is Big Funding Squeeze. Can you talk about the thought process and the mechanism that went into that? And I would also like you to talk -– I know we’re talking about debt; I would like you to talk about some of the positive parts on the continent for private sectors investors that are looking to invest in Africa right now.

MR. SELASSIE: Thank you. Good question on the thought process that goes into what we highlight. This of course, again, as I say all the time, a very heterogenous region, so really the circumstances differ incredibly across the region. From growth to fiscal outcomes, to the debt picture. And a lot of the conversation though about Africa, the narrative has been about debt, debt, debt. And indeed, the debt vulnerabilities are the most elevated they’ve been in many years, I would say maybe even since the turn of the century. But one thing which we felt was –- not enough attention had been paid to was the role that the scarcity of financing from external sources was playing. So, we titled it Big Funding Squeeze because that’s right now strikes us as one of the big cross-cutting challenges that many countries in the region are facing.

So, debt levels go up as a result of what fiscal policies governments pursue, first and foremost, but also whether countries have access to favorable terms of financing. And over the years, official development assistance -- which was a major source of financing for sub-Saharan Africa –- has been declining, countries have instead been relying on more costly forms of market borrowing of course, and these are also factors that have contributed to debt levels rising in the region.

Last but not least, right now we are at a moment when countries do not have access to funding markets from outside. So, this exacerbates the situation, and there are countries that are not facing fundamentally a solvency problem, but rather a liquidity problem. And because of exogenous circumstances, even these countries facing liquidity problems may fall afoul of that sustainability consideration. So, we wanted to highlight the complexity of the story, and also identify and draw attention to the fact that we need to support the region, including through significant counter-cyclical financing of the type that, international institutions like this provide.

Again, as I said, the region is quite exogenous and I also want to stress we’re a resilient region, and I see resources of resilience, particularly in the private sector, even in countries where the public sector is facing balance sheet problems. We see quite a lot of resilience in the private sector across the region really, and in terms of countries, we also see very inspiring projects being discussed, so in meeting with delegations, yesterday, for example, I was hearing about the green hydro project that Namibia’s launching, so there are a lot of bright spots in the region also.

MS. MOSSOT: The first row.

QUESTIONER: Simon Ateba Today News Africa in Washington, D.C. Mr. Selassie, first of all, I don’t understand why you have to recuse yourself with Ethiopia. I understand that you come from there, but knowing this, asking you to talk about the war in Tigray, the conflict in Ethiopia, you’re an economist, and you can talk about the report that you have, but let me go to Nigeria. There was a pushback yesterday in Nigeria after the World Bank President said that Nigeria should respond to some of the trade protections that the President put in place in the past few years. Is that your opinion here at the IMF that some of the trade protections that were put in place should be dismantled by the incoming administration, and if you can talk more broadly since you can’t talk about Ethiopia about the Horn of Africa and the instability there, and the conflict there. Thank you.

MR. SELASSIE: I recuse myself honestly because I’ve been saying this to people also -- I’m privy as much to information from anecdotal sources of information than just professional sources. I think it’s best to allow my colleagues that deal with the country to give you the full picture, so it’s not because of any malign intent or issue.

Second, on Nigeria, there’s a lot of speculation about what’s going to happen, what’s not. I think it’s really difficult to respond on hypotheticals. I think a source of frustration for the Government itself, policymakers, businesses, over the last several years has been that the trade regime, the foreign exchange regime, have all been very challenging and have not allowed Nigeria to robust the very strong rates of growth that the country needs desperately. Second, I think it’s appropriate that you look at policies in terms of their effectiveness, so the question that we have is the policies that have been pursued over the last three, four years, have they indeed helped achieve the diversification that it was intended to achieve.

The new administration will see what they do. We will be supportive of measures, policies that respond and are effective, in terms of addressing the diversification objective Nigeria has, but also addressing the near-term challenges that macroeconomically the country is facing from revenue mobilization to ensuring that there are sufficient resources to spend on health, education, infrastructure. I think that’s all I can tell you.

On the Horn, absolutely, we are very worried about, of course, on top of the global challenges that the countries of the Horn have been facing, the drought has also been a very important source of drag on growth, but, what’s the long -- the wellbeing of people, and it’s something that’s all about programs or discussions with the countries of the Horn takes into account.

MS. MOSSOT: Can we go to the lady in pink, please?

QUESTIONER: My name is Heidi Giokos from South Africa eNCA. You briefly answered the question, but you had revised down growth for South Africa to 0.1 percent for 2023. Our Finance Minister has said that the IMF is looking at the worst-case scenario when it comes to our energy crisis, and they are confident they will be able to stabilize us. Do you think that we will be able to stabilize our energy prices, and it is solely revised down to 0.1 because of load shedding and the unreliable electricity supply?

MR. SELASSIE: The short answer is yes, I wouldn’t say solely, but very much to a large extent it is on account of the energy challenges that we have revised down our growth numbers. Whether our numbers prove to be more conservative, too conservative, time will tell, but you when we revise these numbers, I think it’s something that we were fairly comfortable with. Sometimes we have differences with country authorities on account of the timing when, projections are made, and I think our projections came well after the budget numbers had been produced, so maybe that accounts for some of the differences. And then we see where things end up.

MS. MOSSOT: We have another question on the WebEx from Severin from Africa 24.

QUESTIONER: My question is related to me. The world bank's April 2023 update suggests a lower GDP growth outlook for sub-Saharan Africa of 3.1% in 2023, down from 3.6% in 2022. However, these figures are still high compared to the global growth forecast for 2023, estimated at 2.6% by the OECD in March. Does that mean sub-Saharan Africa is an investment-friendly region?

How can African countries achieve growth driven by private investment and not public spending which has an impact on debt growth as is currently the case? How can governments also better capture financing opportunities such as those available through climate finance?

MR. SELASSIE: On growth and whether we can still say the region is an attractive one. I'm a little bit partial. Of course, I'm biased, of course. I'm going to answer that in the affirmative. The potential of the region is perhaps the least tapped globally. I think investment opportunities are galore. Why aren't these investment opportunities not being taken up partly on account of policy, partly information asymmetry? There's a range of factors that must be addressed. Sometimes it's a lack of infrastructure. But, I have absolutely no doubt about the potential of the region. The second question wasn't very clear to me.

I think something that we've been flagging over the last many years is what we saw in the last ten or 15 years is indeed growth that has been influenced much more so by, government spending, the investment in infrastructure, in health and education. And we need a handover of growth from the public sector to the private sector. And the policies that are going to be required will vary from country to country.

MS. MOSSOT: The second question was: How can African countries achieve growth driven by private investments and not public spending, which has an impact on debt growth?

MR. SELASSIE: Something that we’ve been flagging over the last many years is what we saw in the last ten, 15 years is indeed growth that has been influenced much more so by government spending, the investment in infrastructure, in health and education, and we need the handover of the growth from the public sector to the private sector, and the policies that are going to be required will vary from country to country, yeah?

MS. MOSSOT: Let’s go back to the room where the second row, the gentleman with glasses.

QUESTIONER: I want to get a more nuanced answer from you on monetary policy transmission. In Africa. Take Nigeria, for example, where consumption accounts for around 80% of GDP. And credit is very low. What is it about monetary policy and rising interest rates that makes you confident in the tackle against inflation? Or are you thinking more about anchoring expectations or that higher rates would attract investors into the country for higher returns and then the exchange rate goes up? And that's the way you're thinking about how monetary policy helps. So just want to get a more nuanced answer on monetary policy.

MR. SELASSIE: As always, the extent to which monetary policy will help address inflation is going to be dependent on a whole range of factors. I think if you have largely negative real interest rates, I'm not sure that that is conducive to the kind of signaling effect that you want to have, either in terms of supporting the exchange rate or the credits channel. When you have multiple exchange rates, that also becomes a lot more complicated, right? Do you which exchange rate do you use as a benchmark? So, all those things must be factored in. Again, we're not dogmatic that it's always must be about interest rates increases. So that will work through the credits channel, as you said, for a large sum, thereby mobilizing a bit more savings. But there are cases also where we support, management, managing liquidity, even other cases where the financial markets are even more rudimentary. So outright monetary targeting, explicit money targeting is what will work. I think it depends on a combination of those factors. I think you are very nuanced policymakers in Nigeria

QUESTIONER: You opened, talking about the need for a well-functioning debt restructuring mechanism. I wanted to ask you; do we have that now? Are we seeing any progress? This week on the Chinese in particular, getting on board some of the debt restructuring and the creditors paying back late into that? What do you think needs to be done to replace the expired The. Do you have any opinions about that? And then more generally on US-China decoupling, we've heard warnings all week about the cost of that. Do you have figures on how that impacts Africa in particular? And if you don't, more generally, why is Africa vulnerable to decoupling between the U.S. and China?

MR. SELASSIE: On that last question, I think the answer is straightforward. We have a small section in an annex and one of the analytical focuses on the potential implications of these fragmentation type tensions on the region. I will ask you to look at that. Do we have a functioning sovereign debt restructuring framework? I think that the creation of the common framework was really a very, very important initiative. We didn't have a framework which brought together outside the Paris Club old official creditors. The fact that this was created honestly was a fantastic initiative, and I'm not sure it would have come about. I've had a pandemic. The urgency that that creates now, I think, allowed the common frameworks to be created and important discussions and conversations have been taking place. So relative to the architecture of that, we have three or four years ago, the BSI and then subsequently the creation of the common framework has been an important one and we have had some success. I think Chad is, of course, an important example, but also it was under the common framework that again, and the assurances that we were able to proceed with the, presenting the program on Zambia forward. But the common framework, as you know, also needs, of course, to be a lot timelier in terms of facilitating final district restructuring outcomes. And that's what's lacking. And what we are urging. What we are urging when we flag that, we need much more nimble, much more agile. You know that restructuring framework for countries that already are facing difficulties and down the road may need some in terms of overarching approach to debt restructuring. I think the complexity of the creditor base now is going to lead to more and more work on an individual country basis rather than cross-cutting basis. I think we see that, how different the debt treatment is going to have to be in Zambia versus Ghana, for example. Going forward, I think we'll be seeing more country specific cases and again, strengthening the need for a mechanism globally that's that is much more efficient than the one we have now.

MS. MOSSOT: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to take more questions, but for future questions on Ethiopia, please you can reach out to my colleagues, Nicolas, who is in the room, and for all the questions, of course, we will be able to take care, you can send us email for the different press offices. Thank you very much for being with us in this informative exchange with journalists and rendezvous in Morocco for the Annual Meeting.

MR. SELASSIE: Thank you. Thank you, Tatiana. Thank you all for your interest in coming here today.

IMF Communications Department

PRESS OFFICER: Tatiana Mossot

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