After two years of virtual Lectures, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) held its sixth annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture on 14 October 2022 in Washington, DC, USA. This year’s event was held under the theme “The Developing World in a Turbulent Global Financial Architecture”.
Speaking during a press briefing on Friday, 7 October 2022, and leading the coordination of the 2022 edition of the Babacar Ndiaye Lecture, Dr Hippolyte Fofack, Chief Economist and Director of Research at Afreximbank, elaborated on the importance of this year’s theme: “Africa’s total external debt is about $726 billion. That makes it less than a third of Italy’s debt estimated at about US$2.8 trillion. And expressed as a percentage of GDP, Africa’s total external debt is 27%, compared to 130% in Europe. Yet African countries are more at a risk of debt distress than their European counterparts largely as a result of large spreads and default-driven borrowing rates assigned to African sovereign and corporate entities.”
He said that this year’s keynote lecturer, Prime Minister of Barbados, H.E. Mia Amor Mottley, QC “is one of the most powerful intellectual voices of reason in the world today. She also happens to be one of the rare politicians who understands the arcane of finance.” Speaking on why he believed that Prime Minister Mottley was the right person to articulate and elaborate on the theme of the Lecture, Dr Fofack indicated that the Prime Minister has been the global Ambassador for fairer financing rules for a more inclusive globalisation process.
More recently this was illustrated in the powerful statement she delivered to the UN General Assembly last month, inviting “leaders to embrace a more inclusive global financial architecture that better serves the majority of today’s UN members states, most of which were not involved in the World War II-era Bretton Woods Agreement that gave rise to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”
Held annually on the sidelines of the World Bank meetings, the Babacar Ndiaye Lectures serve as a nexus for Afreximbank shareholders, partners, and professionals, along with existing and potential clients spanning all industries. The event also welcomes senior government officials and central bankers, leaders and representatives of international organisations and DFIs, researchers and members of the academic community, as well as the continent’s diplomatic corps and Chambers of Commerce.
Speaking on the importance of the lecture Dr Fofack said, “it’s very important to stress that what we are going to be doing next week, is not just a technical or academic exercise, it is an intellectual exercise driven by policy objectives in a strategic area which holds significant implications for economic development for the global south and more generally the world.”