The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), 30 Aug – 1 Sept 2023, attended in Dakar, Senegal, the 3rd Edition of the African Conference on Debt and Development #AfCoDDIII, organized by sister organisations African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), TrustAfrica and Stop The Bleeding Consortium.
This year's discussions were centred around provoking a reflection, by opinion leaders, parliamentarians, government officials and civil societies activists, to Reimagine, Rethink, Reorganise, and Remobilise sustainable debt to better fit the African context.
PALU was represented by its Economic Governance Officer, Mr. Rangarirai Chikova, who participated in a panel session reviewing the legal frameworks around debt agreements on the continent, during which he emphasised the importance of model agreements, the inclusion of force majeure provisions and the need for increased transparency and public participation in the negotiations of debt covenants.
Regarding the role lawyers can play regarding debt negotiation, structuring and implementation, we can note the following:
- Develop model contract conform with the realisation of human and peoples’ rights; while standard, such contract should maintain flexibility to account for the specific context and dynamics of respective African countries.
- Ensure all loan agreements reside within the confines of the Constitution and respect relevant public debt management laws and policies.
- Advocate for sound national debt management laws and policies based on a comprehensive legal framework, which ensures a fair balance between the obligations of creditors and debtors.
As such, for lawyers to effectively contribute to sustainable development in Africa, they need to be sensitized on the impact of the debt negotiations and enhance their capacity to effect change by locating themselves in the broader development matrix.
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