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The press could play a crucial role in democratizing and humanizing debt management


Jun 20, 2021

BUJUMBURA June 20th (ABP) – The press plays a very important role in raising awareness for democratization and public debt management. This was announced in the pan-African media conference on debt and development, organized last week by the African forum (AFRODAD) on debt and development, in collaboration with OXFAM, Actionaid and the citizens’ initiative for the environment and sustainable development (ICED) in Burundi.

According to several speakers who took part in that online conference, the press must be involved in the process of democratizing the debt and therefore provide reliable information on the debt problem by focusing on subjects useful to society mainly on debt-related challenges.

Debt impoverishes the recipient, reason why it must be democratized through debates on its challenges and the way in which it is granted.

Expert economists have pleaded for the humanization of the debt by revealing that every Burundian is born with a debt of 300,000 BIF.

In his presentation on the issue of indebtedness and its management in Burundi, the consultant in macroeconomy and good governance, Mr. Faustin Ndikumana, indicated that indebtedness is understood as all short, medium and long term debts of an economic agent.

This is the situation for a country that results from either domestic or external debt financing, he explained, adding that domestic financing alone is not enough.

This is why strategies are being developed but, according to Ndikumana, who quotes NEPAD, their implementation remains hypothetical.

For him, the reality on Africa and Burundi in particular is that they suffer greatly from a lack of capital to finance their development, mainly quality infrastructure.

The consultant in macroeconomy and good governance also indicated that since 2015 domestic debt has doubled more than external debt and total debt is approaching more and more 60% of GDP.

For Reuben Kigame, head of a private Press House in Kenya, the debts contracted by African countries with international institutions like the IMF are burdens for African countries and peoples because they do not contribute to African development.

African debt policies are not coherent and financial and monetary transactions leave aside African interests, he deplored while adding that some African countries are getting into the trap by contracting debts with developed countries and the Bretton Woods institutions.

Burundian parliamentarians engaged in the fight against corruption and who participated in that conference pleaded for the popularization of the African borrowing charter drawn up by AFRODAD in order to improve debt management.

The policy of restructuring and debt cancellation needs to be studied. For the executive coordinator and legal representative of the Citizens’ Initiative for the Environment and Sustainable Development (ICED), Mr. Appolinaire Nishirimbere, the debts contracted by African countries can be the object of domination in diplomacy.

He explained that Africa is losing enormously rather than winning from the phenomenon of tax havens. He took this opportunity to appeal to the Burundian executive and African states to vote for and respect the laws cracking down on the phenomenon of tax havens.

According to Burundian economist and writer Léonce Ndikumana, Africa loses around $ 70 billion a year through debt and non-payment of taxes by multinational corporations and the phenomenon of tax havens.

African parliamentarians should become more involved in debt management and budget allocation and in passing laws that improve governance to date.

The media represented at this virtual conference are, on their part, committed to regularly producing articles and programs on the debt problem in Burundi and Africa and by exchanging experiences with other African journalists through networks that will be created.