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Debt and Inclusion Key Topics for Africa at World Bank/IMF Meetings

Despite the recent earthquake in Morocco, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Moroccan authorities have confirmed that the 2023 Annual Meetings of these institutions will proceed as scheduled in Marrakech. This year’s Annual Meetings will be held from October 9-15, 2023, under the theme “Global Action, Global Impact.”

Morocco, which is hosting these meetings 50 years after they first took place in Africa, experienced an earthquake but remains determined to host the event while also assisting earthquake victims.

Morocco’s Central Bank Governor, Abdellatif Jouahri, highlighted some key issues that will be discussed during the meetings. These include addressing the significant debts owed by African nations to development banks, promoting financial inclusion, and addressing climate change. Jouahri emphasized the need for a new multilateral approach to reduce the gap between developed and poor countries and to tackle issues like the digital divide.

Jouahri also assured that the earthquake did not affect the venue of the Annual Meetings, which spans over 50 hectares and offers a world-class setting for the global gathering. He emphasized the importance of debt relief for vulnerable African countries, representation of Africa in these institutions, and reforms of development banks like the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB).

In a joint statement, World Bank President Ajay Banga, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, and Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui confirmed that the meetings would proceed and adapted to the circumstances. They emphasized conducting the meetings respectfully in consideration of the earthquake’s impact.

Despite the challenges posed by the earthquake, Morocco has made extensive preparations for the Annual Meetings, including a state-of-the-art venue with 48 halls, a large plenary auditorium, and offices for delegates from 189 countries. More than 13,000 hotel reservations have been made for the event.

The meetings provide an opportunity for African countries to discuss and address pressing issues like debt, financial inclusion, climate change, and food security. Experts hope that the continent’s growing debt burden will be a prominent topic of discussion during the meetings, along with the need for relief measures to alleviate the debt servicing burden for African nations.

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